What PR Firms are Missing- IdeasYesterday I had the distinct pleasure of (finally) meeting Scott Baradell (and his gorgeous wife) in person.

Scott is the founder of Idea Grove, an inbound, marketing, and PR firm based in Dallas.

As entrepreneurs do, particularly when they are in similar businesses, we spent a couple of hours sharing our challenges and issues and discussing best practices.

We started talking about how we started our businesses (both in 2005) and I made mention of the fact that if I were to do it again, I would not put my name on the door.

Naming Your Company

I did it, of course, because I have high, high aspirations and all of the big firms have two names on their door: FleishmanHillard, Golin-Harris, Weber Shandwick, etc.

But now? Now I’d consider something more appropriate like, I don’t know…Spin Sucks?

That conversation took us to how he named his firm Idea Grove, which brings me to the topic of this blog post.

He is a corporate communications guy. I am an agency person. It makes sense I would look to the big, global PR firms to name my own company.

But he looked at what he thought PR firms are missing when, as a client, he hired them: Ideas.

What PR Firms are Missing

He said PR firms seem to be more interested in reputation management and presenting themselves as very buttoned-up and almost lawyer-like…even down to the names on the doors.

Hence the name Idea Grove.

This isn’t a surprise; we’ve talked many times here about how PR professionals need to be more creative and take some risk in providing new and interesting ideas to clients every day (or  at least every week).

But when he put it like that, and said advertising agencies and web design firms always come up with new ideas and present them to the clients, but PR firms are missing that one little piece, I began to think about how right he is and what we need to do to change that.

I’d like to think Arment Dietrich does a good job of that already. We do tend to stay ahead of the trends and offer solutions to clients as we think they’re appropriate. But I wonder how much of that is me thinking we do it versus what is really done?

A Challenge For You

It brings me to one of my big initiatives this year, which is to put process and procedure into place so these things are happening without my micromanaging them (which I’m really terrible at doing). Now I’ll be sure giving ideas to clients every week is part of that…and that we’re thinking big and taking some risk and getting beyond the scope of work (heck, isn’t that what drives organic growth?).

But it brings up a good question. How many of you are doing the status quo, providing counsel on the things you’ve been hired to do, but never look at something and think, “Huh. I’ll bet that could work for X, Y, Z client.”?

Some are very good at finding articles their clients might like and forwarding them on, but does it go much further than that?

Of course, it means the client has to be willing to let you take some risk and try out the idea…and fail if that’s what it means without firing you.

Why not try?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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