Amith Prabhu: The Public Relations Campaign brief

27 Oct,2014

By Amith Prabhu

 

This column is for in-house communications professionals. Also known as corporate communications or marketing communications or public relations or fill in the blank as various organisations call it by different names with slight differences in the job description. This column is for those who believe in a better way of planning, executing and measuring a campaign.

 

This column is not for the corporate communications professional who has not worked in a PR firm prior to his or her in-house job. This is also definitely not for one who manages all external outreach internally without being the client of a PR firm. This column is about the client brief which barely exists in this day and age.

 

I have been hearing several clients of PR firms complain that There Is No Alternative to the firm they are currently engaged with as all firms are almost the same especially when it comes to measurement. I also know several of the clients do not have a seat at the table and hence are unable to convince the high command in the organisation to look beyond advertising value equivalent more notoriously known as AVE. I think the only way to solve this problem is through a basic document that the consultancy and client create together which is the “Brief” that lists out the deliverables and measurable before each campaign.

 

A Brief has to be written in a mutually agreed upon template. It has to be professional. It cannot be verbal and it needs to clearly have a measurement metrics that can change campaign to campaign.

 

When clients and consultancies join forces to make this a mandatory practice which is not impossible more accountability will set in and better understanding and appreciation of the power of Public Relations will come to the fore. The brief should come to become a non-negotiable document. Teams at PR firms should insist on one and should refuse to work without one. Clients should ensure these briefs are fool-proof and unambiguous.

 

Ultimately, a PR firm is made up of people who most often end up becoming clients of some other firms in the future. If this habit is not inculcated early on we are staring at troubled times. There will always be certain aspects of reputation management that will take place without a brief. Those are understandable.

 

But what has to be measured should begin with a brief. It is pointless being part of a vicious circle. Maybe in 2015 a new era of briefs gathers support from the fraternity. If PRCAI can take the lead and create a template for all its member firms to follow we could see some hope on this front. We certainly need to move from return on investment to return on objective.

 

Award organisers need to have a category for the best brief to drive home the point. Let’s hope this becomes an approach for the future. Here’s to the next Brief.

 

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