Addressing unrealistic expectations of clients

Public Relations is indeed a highly demanding job that keeps PR professionals on their toes always. While it is PR pros’ mandate to ensure fair media recognition and visibility to their clients, sometimes unrealistic expectations from brands put PR pros in uncomfortable situations and put them under undue pressure. In a highly competitive PR business, retaining clients is proving to be a herculean task for PR consultancy firms and communication professionals. Therefore, in the quest to bring brands on board and ensure long term business, PR pros succumb to their clients’ unrealistic and unjustified demands. While ensuring clients satisfaction is important, there is a need to draw a line unrealistic expectations and realistic goal setting for successful PR campaigns.

Here are five Ways PR Pros can address unrealistic expectations of clients tactically.

  1. Set Realistic Goals for PR Campaign: While there is nothing wrong on part of a client to expect coverage in the front page of TOI/ ET or 100 online/offline news items a month, PR pros should make their clients understand the difference between quantity and quality. It is always a wise choice to position a company/brand in a media outlet that addresses niche markets rather than having 100 odd articles in random publications. PR pros should have a transparent discussion with their clients about deliverable and non-deliverable aspects of PR campaigns to avoid any future disappointment.
  2. Think PR Beyond Newspapers: Though digital is the future, certain companies still insist on coverage in mainstream newspapers irrespective of relevance of their business. PR pros should take an initiative to educate their clients on new normal in media outreach that is beyond mainstream print publications such as TOI, ET, HT etc. There are thousands of digital media platforms, which cater to niche industry verticals and they have decent readership/viewership. PR pros should identify such niche mediums pertaining to their clients’ industry. Based on the study of such niche media outlets, they should curate the PR strategies to facilitate direct reach and engagement with clients’ target customers/audience
  3. Not Everything Worth of PR: Like every PR cannot be a news, not every announcement/update can be a PR. PR pros should make a distinction between PR and media alert and accordingly plan a PR campaign. For instance, if a company acquires a new brand it is worth to highlight through a press statement. However, if a company expands its portfolio within the same product line, then it is better to just send a media alerts to relevant media portals rather than a full-fledged PR.
  4. Clients Support is Critical: Certain companies have a tendency to put entire PR mandate on the shoulders of PR consultancy firms without giving them backend support. While it is a job of PR pros to streamline the PR strategy of a company and give them optimum results, clients also have a role to play in initial support. If PR pros find difficulties in accessing information, not able to chase clients and not getting any direction, they should raise their concerns to the clients without any hesitation. PR pros should always remember that they are being hired to provide the best services to their clients and asking for help does not negatively pose them.
  5. Transparency in PR Spending: Brands leverage the power of paid media for greater visibility and promotions. On occasions, certain clients expect PR pros to leverage their relationships with media to get the coverage for free of cost. However, it is a tricky situation for PR pros to handle this demand as they have to manage relations at both the ends. In this situation, it is always advisable to convey clients the cost and expenditure associated with any paid PR campaign and influencer activity. It is always helpful to have a fair and transparent conversation with clients when it comes to PR expenditures.

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Priyanka Pugaokar
Priyanka Pugaokar is a communications specialist with 10 years of experience in Journalism and Corporate Communications. Her core competencies include content creation, media relations, internal and external communications, strategic planning, and event management. Currently, as Marketing Manager at Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd, she drives PR campaigns, brand communication, internal communication, and special projects. Priyanka is an Alumna at the School of Communications and Reputation (SCoRe) Fall Batch of 2022. She writes for Passion to Explore (blog) and Reputation Today. Priyanka is an avid traveler and likes to explore fewer known places and cuisines. She also has a special interest in Psychology, Yoga, Healing, and Naturopathy.

3 Comments on "Addressing unrealistic expectations of clients"

  1. Well written..all points covered to perfection

  2. Very informative and nicely written.

  3. I enjoyed reading it line by line and shall implement few of your suggestions

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