Our Silicon Valley client’s brief was clear. The fast-growing firm with an impressive roster of well-known clients worldwide wanted and needed the services of a global public relations firm with demonstrated experience managing multi-market, multi-national accounts -- one that could show itself to be a good steward of a respectable budget for a thought leadership and branding program in key markets in North America, Europe and Asia.
On paper, the candidate agencies we identified and helped our client evaluate were well-qualified. Each had company-owned and/or affiliate offices in all the requisite markets, and were armed with case studies that trumpeted impressive experience in at least some of those. But as the RFP process moved from proposals, to presentations and client reference interviews, deficiencies and flaws among the agencies surfaced. Chief among them: (1) weak examples of managing truly global, multi-market accounts; and (2) an inability, or unwillingness (or both) to be creative with a budget which in this case was set in the high six figures.
Multi-market account coordination and budget management.
PR agencies should and can improve their RFP response “batting average” by asking questions and pushing for complete information up front, avoiding the cookie cutter approach, looking inward before responding outward, and being prepared to put their best foot forward during the proposal and presentation process.
Those were the recommendations we shared with more than 50 firms when RFP Associates presented to mid-sized PR agency heads and senior executives last month during the PRSA Counselors Academy conference in California.
It was part of our launch and introduction of our newest offering, “RFP Response Ready,” a customized suite of services for PR agencies eager to improve their new business acumen and approach to the RFP response process.
Last week they won the American Society of Association Executives' Gold Circle Award for the best-integrated communications campaign, best media/PR and the very top Overall Excellence Award (aka Best in Show). And a mere two days later the client-agency duo won a Silver Anvil and Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America.
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