Thank you for your support – Banker & Tradesman’s readers voted us the #2 PR firm

A while ago we asked our community of clients, partners, friends and supporters to vote for us – if you liked our work and believed we deserved it – in the Banker & Tradesman’s “Best of 2009″ Reader’s Poll. And vote you did! I’m thrilled to announce that we received the silver award for Best Public Relations Agency among the Bay State’s financial and real estate community. Not only did the publication receive three times more votes than last  year (across all categories), but you wrote us onto a ballot on which we were not originally listed. We know this took time and effort and we thank you!

B&T’s Best is “an annual tribute to the companies that readers have determined to be, simply, the best at what they do. This is a subjective, not objective, reader poll. It does not measure who writes the most business or has the most revenue. What it does measure is the loyalty and satisfaction readers have with vendors.”

We can’t think of a better honor than to be recognized for doing great work and delivering client satisfaction. Thank you so much to those of you who voted, to our clients for choosing to work with us, to our partners for supporting us and to our staff of exceptional employees who work every day to deliver superior client service and results across tech, healthcare, financial and consumer industries. I am grateful and very, very proud.

Pssst, We’re Recruiting, Spread the Word

I’m happy to say that we’re on the hunt for some new, innovative employees. I wanted to spread the word as much as possible, so in addition to updating our careers page on the web site, I interrupt our regularly-scheduled blogging to share the following details. Thanks in advance for passing it along.

Are you a PR 2.0 expert with proven experience in both traditional programs and new media? PerkettPR is recruiting!

PerkettPR is seeking Account Strategists who can demonstrate the proven ability to run traditional PR programs such as media relations, customer/partner programs, speaking engagements, events initiatives and grassroots campaigns, as well as new media and digital production: social media campaigns, video, podcasts, etc.

Specifically, you must:

  • have a minimum of five years related experience
  • demonstrate results or case studies in PR and new media as well as client service
  • be comfortable – experience preferred – working from a home office
  • have experience in technology but demonstrate a willingness to work in industries such as healthcare, fashion, travel, entertainment. If you have specific experience to bring to the table, please highlight it
  • have an entrepreneurial spirit
  • show us why you are a standout – what will you teach us?
  • do your homework – communicate your understanding of who we are, our culture and how we are unique in the industry

Ideally, you will:

  • have a sense of humor – for fun and for sanity!
  • be in or near Boston, NYC, San Francisco or Detroit
  • not lead with “why I want to work from home”
  • have PR agency experience or client service experience
  • be creative in how and where you apply/show us your work
  • understand the bigger picture and give us an idea of how you will not only help deliver the best client service but help our organization grow and innovate

BIG HINT: if you follow @PerkettPR on Twitter and DM us that you have sent a resume, it will be more noticeable…

Submit your details to careers(at)perkettpr(dot)com and in the subject line, please indicate the position (Account Strategist) and location, (Boston, NY, Detroit or San Francisco). Visit our website for more details. Thanks for reading.

Your Turn: What Can We Do Better in Public Relations?

Jeremiah Owyang’s recent Tweet about a question he was asked during a briefing – “What can we do better?” – made me think this is a question we should be asking the industry more often. Of course, we have regular discussions with our clients about what we, as an agency, can be doing better. But as rumors of the PR industry dying continue (by the way, that’s been tossed around for years now), we thought we’d ask you, readers. PR isn’t dying – rather, it’s changing. But change is good – and we want to hear your thoughts on how PR should evolve and improve.

http://prblog.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/pr_two_point_oh.jpg

It seems there are a lot of opinions out there about what PR is doing wrong or failing at, but very often these complaints are hollow – there aren’t specifics around what companies would like to see more of other than “media coverage.” So how can we as an industry improve? What do you think PR professionals could do better or differently? If you’ve got an opinion on the subject, here’s what we’d love to hear from you:

- What do you think PR professionals most need to improve or change? (We’d love to hear perspective from journalists, business owners, CMOs and VPs, branding and social media experts, etc.)

- In what areas would you like to see improvement? Media relations? Social media? Messaging? Strategy? Crisis Communications? Pitches? Writing? Thought leadership? Other?

- What is PR doing right these days?

- If you work with a PR agency, have they delivered what they promised when you hired them?

We’d love for you to leave your comments here or, if you’ve got a lot to say but want to keep it private, feel free to email me at chris[at]perkettpr.com or fill out our online questionnaire. If interest is high, we’ll gather and analyze the feedback and share some additional insights on how we think PR can improve the problem areas. In any event, let’s stop saying PR is dying. Let’s talk about how it’s evolving.

Thank you in advance!

Can I Do My Own PR?

Last week I was in New York City to speak on a Fashion PR 2.0 panel about the use of social media in PR and marketing for the fashion industry. During the course of the evening, many interesting questions were asked. One in particular that stood out was from a budding fashion designer who asked, “Can I just do my own PR?”

Let’s take a quick look at a few things you can do yourself:

- be your own legal representative

- bake your own wedding cake

- file taxes

- be your own Realtor

- sew your own clothes

Obviously, there are many more things you could do yourself. But you choose not to because it’s not your area of expertise, you know someone else can do it better (i.e., the professionals), you don’t have the right amount of time or resources to do the best job, or a variety of other reasons.

With the rising popularity of social media, many people are implying – or outright stating – that PR as a profession is dead and that everyone can do their own PR. This sentiment is just silly. PR is not dead. It’s not a dying profession. Social media isn’t killing it – if it were, PR would just be about the tools, and not the people. If anything, social media is simply forcing an improvement in PR – thankfully.

That’s a key point people are missing – PR is about the people and how they execute their professional skills, not the tools they use. Think about it – social media is just making it easier to connect with more people, more often – but even before social media, the main tools for PR professionals were mail and phone, and before that, postal mail and fax. These are tools that – like social media – anyone could have used to execute PR in the past – so why suddenly does everyone think that just because it’s easier to communicate, everyone is good at it?

Trust me, I’m well aware that there are many, many PR professionals that do a bad job. I’ve received horrible, off-topic pitches myself as a blogger. But is this really different than any other industry? Or is PR as a profession just more visible to the outside world and thus more of a target to have bad work exposed?

PR isn’t brain surgery. I’ve always said that. It’s not impossible for anyone to do. Of course you can do it yourself. It doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it, or as lucky as Jason Calacanis was, and it might take time away from what you’re really good at – or worse, you might cause yourself more damage than good. So while hiring a full service PR and social media agency isn’t right for everyone – certainly a budding fashion designer would be better off hiring a consultant to start – it doesn’t mean that doing it yourself is the right option either.

People seem to view it as an “either/or” situation. Just because you hire a PR firm doesn’t mean that they are the only ones promoting your company. it also doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in your brand, understand or even use your product. We use plenty of our client’s products and are avid brand advocates even before – or after – working with them.

Good PR and marketing firms help everyone involved to properly promote the company – and to keep messages honest, transparent, consistent and persistent. It doesn’t mean the CEO shouldn’t also be participating in conversations – together, PR firms and their clients can all work together to spread brand enthusiasm and “be amazing, be everywhere and be real.” PR isn’t a synonym for fake – and the implication is tiring.

Rather, if you are already involved in social media, use it to ask the community about good PR firms or some great consultants. Keep in mind, however, who you are asking – be sure they are either reporters who work with these executives, or that they are industry executives who have had more than one job and truly understand both sides – corporate and agency – of PR and communications.  Just because someone has a lot of followers on Twitter doesn’t mean that they know corporate communications or how to help with other areas of PR such as crisis communications, marketing and sales positioning, corporate branding (as opposed to personal branding), and other crucial facets to great and successful marketing. Trust me – personal brands are one thing, corporate expertise another.

What do you think? Should everyone do their own PR? Can they?

Systems Thinking & the Unintended Long Term Consequences of Slashing Your Marketing Budget Now

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
- Bill Gates

I’ve been learning about Systems Thinking lately and I believe it applies to our blog post on Tuesday about why PR and marketing budgets should NOT be cut in a down economy (and of course, why our PR Stimulus offer can help!)

The basic belief behind Systems Thinking is that doing the most obvious thing is not always – in fact, rarely – the best thing to do. Problems are a result of multiple, integrated issues, not just one component. Few business leaders take the time – or understand how – to identify the events, trends and causes that lead to a problem or that should be considered in a solution (a “causal loop”). So often the “fixes” that business leaders apply to problems fail and rather create a temporary solution for today that lead to more problems tomorrow.

I would say that applies to pulling PR and marketing as one of the first cost cutting measures. If no one knows about you and your company, no one buys, if no one buys, well – you get the picture – it’s a related loop. Shouldn’t marketing continue to be a priority for businesses in a down economy…. shouldn’t PR be one of the last things to go? I’d be interested in how systems thinking experts would analyze this situation, given that systems thinking is supposed to help organizations that want to develop and sustain competitive advantage. Just as your competitors are going quiet, don’t you want to grab this opportunity to fill the void? If you put PR and marketing on hold now, you could spend even more money in the future trying to completely “relaunch” from a marketing perspective.

The noise is quieting down as your competitors are hunkering down – work with experts (PR agency, social media expert, marketing consultant – whatever is best for your business) to ensure that your marketing is smart, nimble, focused and effective. Take advantage of the opportunity left by others who only see the obvious route – to slash budgets – but haven’t taken the time to think about the long term ramifications and solutions. Look for agencies (yes, like ours) that know “PR 2.0″ – the strategies and tools deployed for such can deliver more cost-effective campaigns that still keep awareness at an all time high.

Marketing and promotion in a down economy is a golden opportunity for those who can think dynamically and understand how “today’s decisions can have both intended and unintended consequences – leading to tomorrow’s successes and problems.”