Amith Prabhu: Which are the good PR firms?

13 Apr,2015

By Amith Prabhu


I get at least five calls each month from friends and professional acquaintances asking me to recommend a PR firm and more often than not I’m confused. Confused because I know and like the leaders of several PR firms. But I’m not so sure about the talent on the ground who will deliver campaigns and run programmes. In a consulting service business, a firm is only as good as its people. And that too the young work force that executes ideas.


While there are a few bright sparks that enter the profession every year a large number of entrants lack basic understanding of the business. I am writing this after the experience of having interacted and mentored quite a few over the last couple of years.


Today’s untrained and non-mentored junior executives become tomorrow’s managers and then later go on to become leaders in no time because of the attrition leading to a poor crop of professionals. We lack a few qualities compared to our counterparts in the west. We lack the ability to organise the willingness to be disciplined and the capacity to be knowledgeable. All essential commodities to be great Public Relations professionals.


This problem may be solved if people come together. If not there is a bleak future staring at us. That brings me back to the point I make in the headline by asking a question – Who are the good PR firms? One of the reasons I get asked this question is because the word going around is that there are a handful of consultants in each firm who are really good and clients are worried that, if their business does not go to the hands of these outstanding consultants they are doomed.


So how do we solve this problem? One option is to create a review site where consultants put themselves up for a scrutiny where their clients, peers and bosses review them. These consultants will carry a premium and be in great demand. More importantly this would be at the most 20% of the total number of professionals. Because those not sure of getting good reviews will not opt in. We need a rating system to collectively take the quality of the professional community to the next level.


As time passes an increasing number of professionals will want to be reviewed publicly. This happens to doctors, chefs and several other professionals all the time. Maybe time for a Zomato for the PR firms. Then answering “Who are the good PR firms” will not be difficult.


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