+ Point of view

Are you boring? No, it’s your agency

Written by Paul Maher

Even the best PR professional stagnates from time to time. Our latest client, one of our biggest wins to date, came to us deflated with its current agency. Our successful pitch team thought they were a little down on themselves too. This made no sense to us. The client was a proven tech winner, with cutting edge innovation, a customer list to die for and fast-growing multi-billion revenues.

How could any PR professional not want to put their all into guiding the communications of one of the world’s top tech brands? Which budding future PR leader would not want to add her creative brainpower to turn exciting innovator of an account into an industry thought leader? 

Then we won the account. Digging further in, post the agency handover document, we saw the root of the problem. It shone out clearly from the work in progress. This was mostly half-hearted pitches targeting journeymen writers with flaccid story ideas which were either no-hopers or showed not ambition, either of which would miss. 

In short, the agency seemed ‘bored’. Our digital tools diagnosis bore this out in terms of lower share of voice than competitors whose PR teams had sharper angles and ‘sharper elbows’. Success breeds success and the contrary is also true. But you have to try. Hard.

A common joke office joke is, at least compared to being a space traveller, sports hero or Insta celebrity, “Which five year old tells her parents she wants to be in Tech PR when she grows up?”. To counter this negativity, Positive’s tagline is “You need to know tech, to sell tech’. What we really we mean is LOVE tech in all its forms for what it makes possible. And we do. Deeply. 

The harder-to-understand, the lower down in the tech stack, the more unloved by the mass media, or misunderstood a technology, the better for us. In our world, the question is less, are we up for it, more, how deep do you want us to dive in? We do this for a reason. The more we understand the inner workings of our clients’ offerings, the better able to persuade media, from the most arcane of IT analysts to the fluffiest of broadcast media, we can be. 

We show up and plug away each day simply, because we fundamentally believe our clients have fascinating life-changing tech and earth-shattering stories for us to tell. We could not do it any other way. How else could we achieve overage for deep tech events in mainstream business titles like The Sunday Express or persuade the Financial Times [Sub required to listen to how poor software quality can have tragic real-life consequences for air travellers? 

Our secret? Being creative about being creative. Where many PR firms employ team members who genuinely care more about their own smartphones than working on their clients, which is now a scientific fact, we are more likely to think about the tech inside the handset. So, if your agency is making the same old excuses, see the list below, we should be talking. It’s likely not you that’s boring, it’s your agency.

BORED AGENCY EXCUSES FOR NO RESULTS 

  • Your technology is just not sexy. [Change angle]
  • We’ve spoken to every journalist we can think of. [Expand the press list]
  • Business writers cannot understand tech. [Simplify your pitch]
  • It’s a slow news month. [Check rival coverage and call BS]
  • Only customer stories merit coverage. [Have a customer endorse your news]

If you, or any of your workmates or family, have been affected by the issue of bored agency syndrome. You know where we are. Come and explain your tech to us.