Firms losing out with external PRs

A poll of more than 650 senior in-house communicators in large and mid-tier practices showed that firms claim that having a good relationship is the best way to get maximum value from their advisers. But, fewer than one in ten respondent says that consultancies are likely to achieve a close working relationship.

Findings revealed that more than a quarter of respondents singled out bills that do not accurately reflect outcome as the aspect which most annoys them about working with a public relations consultancy.

Jonathan Reay, partner at Whitfield Rush, communications consultancy that conducted the survey, said: ‘Of all the industries we surveyed, accountancy firms are most sophisticated in their choice of resources to meet their public relations needs. Most have an in-house team, supported by a number of consultancies, working on either a retained or project basis, often backed up with freelance support.’

After concerns about value for money, firms placed great importance on good relationship with 70% of those polled seeking consultancies that are pro-active. Another concern was the ability of external public relations advisers to act as an extension of a firm’s in-house team. The survey revealed that fewer than 10% of respondents claim it is very unlikely that consultancies will provide this level of service.

Lack of understanding of a firm’s business by consultancies was also a major complaint. Almost one third of respondents say that his aspect is most annoying, closely followed by complaints about lack of support at key times and lack of commitment to the in-house team.

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