Before you start looking for an agency to manage the public relations part of your business’ marketing strategy you should take some time to think about a PR budget. When the agency that you are briefing has a clear understanding of your allocated PR budget it is more likely they will propose tangible solutions within that budget.
You don’t walk into a car dealership and say: “Give me a quote for a car.” Do you? When you are in the market to purchase a new car, it is likely that you have a preconceived idea of what you are looking for. Obviously, you want to buy something that will get you from point A to point B on either a regular basis (daily commuting to and from work), or an ad-hoc basis (off-road driving over weekends). Depending on your specific needs you might want a car with city-driving fuel economy, long-distance comfort, or the ability to manoeuvre over tough terrain. In addition, you might want a smaller car to allow for easier parking in the city, or a fancy sedan with parking assist, or a bush bar to protect your car when driving off-road.
But what you want and what you can afford are often not the same. Show me a student who does not want to drive a Mercedes S-Class Coupe. At R40,000 per month it is certainly not a car that falls into any student’s budget. The Chery QQ3 0.8 TE at R2,000 per month is more likely to be an affordable option. Yet, both vehicles can take you from 0-100: the former in 4 seconds, and the latter in 20 seconds.
What am I trying to say? Your PR budget can determine how fast you go from zero to hero. Whether you are a small start-up business with a budget of R2,000 per month or a multi-national corporate with R40,000 your PR campaign will increase your brand’s awareness (take you from zero to hero), the one might just take a little longer than the other. And, as with a car, if you do not have your own you are often limited in terms of opportunities.
Therefore, it is important to tell your prospective agency what your PR budget is. If you’re a start-up a PR budget of R2,000 a month could get you very basic social media management on one social media network that will slowly increase brand awareness if your agency knows its ins and outs on social media. Six months and a fair increase in sales later could result in an increased PR budget to that of R6,000 a month. Now your agency could include a few extra social media networks with some small change for social media advertising. Another six months later and your PR budget could increase to R12,000 per month, allowing your agency to increase the hours it dedicates to execution of your business’ PR strategy. All of this as part of your slow but sure journey from zero to hero.
Similarly, if you are a large multi-national with a PR budget of R40,000 per month your agency can dedicate a larger team to work on your brand’s reputation allowing several people to work across different PR elements to drive brand awareness. With a larger team that can dedicate more hours working on your brand’s PR strategy your journey from hero to zero is likely to be a faster one.
But what ultimately matter is reaching the end of your journey; you can have as much fun in the Chery when you travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town as you could in the Mercedes if the company shared is cheerful and fun. It might take a little longer to reach your destination on a smaller PR budget but with the right agency by your side it will be a fun-filled journey from zero to hero.