Conventional wisdom holds that, like the shoemaker who is so busy making shoes for others that he neglects his own kids, advertising and PR agencies don’t do a good job of promoting themselves. That’s simply not the case.
More and more advertising agencies are taking publicity seriously. (Note: They have to. Their traditional business model is imploding as you read this.) And, some public relations firms have absolutely mastered the art of self-promotion.
Our agency publicity team has absolutely excelled at the task, as witnessed by this just-released Dow Jones analysis. As you’ll see, Peppercom ranks fifth among all midsized agencies for most publicity garnered during the year 2010. And, that’s a good thing. A very good thing. It means we’re breaking through the clutter and connecting with the world of prospective and current clients in terms of sharing our point of view on matters of importance. But, in surveying both the midsized and large-sized agencies on the list, I can also state that not all the publicity generated by these firms has been positive.
Take Hill & Knowlton, for example. As I wrote in a previous blog, H&K has suffered a series of high-level executive and client defections. Both have produced enormous negative news and speculation. Another large agency, Cohn & Wolfe, received a ton of negative publicity for publicly airing a feud it was having with one of its best known clients. In fact, CEO Donna Imperato’s barbed statement about her erstwhile client was selected by PR Week as ‘the most memorable’ of 2010. That’s one PR Week award no agency wants to win.
Other firms made the list simply because they specialize in providing counsel to publicly-traded companies that are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. The firm’s name appears automatically in just about any business coverage of the event, so their publicity is a foregone conclusion.
I’m proud of our team’s achievement and hope we can move up the Dow Jones ranks in 2011. My only caveat, though, is the publicity we generate about ourselves should be of the positive variety. I’d rather be like the shoemaker’s child than caught up in the harsh glare of the media’s spotlight. That’s the wrong type of agency publicity.