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ZDNet published a study by Jennifer Leggio, director of strategic communications for Fortinet, with some intriguing findings into PR agency relationships. The most startling statistic? More than 40 percent of respondents claimed they are considering switching agencies.
At a macro level, survey respondents said they were fairly satisfied with their PR agency relationships. However, satisfaction numbers plummeted in a number of specific and important areas. Of particular note was how few felt that their agency team understands their core business objectives or understands that PR needs to support and accelerate the entire business strategy, not just generate coverage for company news.
Leggio posits that understanding the client’s business objectives is essential if agencies are to keep clients, and the same goes for social media prowess and PR program measurement.
Almost 80% responded that it is “extremely important” for their PR agency to show a proven understanding of how social media strategies apply to business. And it’s more than just being facile with new tools, it’s knowing when and how to use them to meet specific client needs.
Forrester’s senior social computing analyst, Jeremiah Oywyang, also stresses the importance of demonstrating social media prowess. While he stops short of saying that companies will leave agencies that don’t “walk the talk” relative to social media in 2009, he soundly rejects the “cobbler’s children” argument and he puts both vendors and agencies on notice that he’ll be mentioning examples — positive and negative — on his blog.
For agencies, the difference between gaining and losing clients in 2009 may well come down to how well the agency’s team can demonstrate a solid understanding of clients’ core business goals, how well they can articulate a social media strategy that helps clients achieve their stated business goals and whether they are able to put in place measurement tools that show the ROI of all PR efforts, both traditional and “new.”
Sterling Communications was only one of six agencies that “were consistently named as viable considerations for clients considering an agency switch.” From the CEO on down, every employee is actively engaged in conversations with the influencers, communities and networks that matter to high-tech markets. Read more about Sterling’s approach to social media training for clients, or start following us around the web. The icons at the top right of the site should get you started.
Image credit: Darwin Bell
About Our Fine Weblog
Welcome to Gearheads, the mostly official blog of Sterling Communications. Here, our best looking employees write about the influence of public relations on social media, web design, marketing strategy, and more. No hype allowed.
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Sterling Tweets@sterlingpr: Jim Donald, former Starbucks CEO, at #MedalliaBPF: Rocket science, brain surgery, nuclear physics—none as tough as dealing with people. 16 hours@sterlingpr: RT @kawika: Look what @marianneoconnor found in her desk http://t.co/MM0iX1DkEG as @sterlingpr preps for our office makeover. (via @weswarf… 1 day@sterlingpr: Wild Cards: https://t.co/t7emhITsbe A small sampling of business cards from previous and prospective #PR clients — in one Vine. 1 day@sterlingpr: Baskin Robbins, Tostitos, FedEx, Amazon and many others have subliminal messages in their corporate logos: http://t.co/l9kcYjnTDg 1 day
Our most prized awards are recommendations from clients, but these are nice too:
- PR SourceCode surveys IT journalists each year to discover the most respected public relations agencies and corporate communication departments. Sterling ranked second in the top 10 PR agencies
- PR News named Sterling Communications one of their ‘Top Place to Work in PR’
- The Business Journal named Sterling Communications one of the “Top 50 largest woman-owned businesses” in Silicon Valley
- The Stevie Awards, dedicated to woman in business, named Sterling Communications’s CEO Marianne O’Connor a finalist for the best entrepreneur in advertising, marketing and public relations
- Sterling Communications has won two SABRE awards for consumer PR campaigns, a Silver Award for the DoveBid campaign and a Certificate of Excellence for a NETGEAR campaign
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