Monday, 18 July 2011

What is the first thing a PR company should be?

This is beige. This is what you get
if you put 'Beige' into a search engine.
I occasionally do a spot of journalism that requires me to get in touch with PR agencies - but because I might only be picking up on a particular topic after, say, a six months absence, I quite often find that the PR person I've been dealing with has disappeared off the electronic face of the Earth (they are rather like mayflies, PR people) and so I have to go back to the switchboard and start again.

I recently wanted to get some PR information for a client of the Borkowski agency. I emailed my latest contact there - only to have the email bounce. No surprise. I looked up their website borkowski.co.uk - it wasn't there, but there was a PR agency at the bizarre address borkowski.do (apparently just so they can have the slogan 'No one can do what Borkowski do') - what the heck, I rang them, but no they don't handle the client I want - the client is now with Beige.

Now, this is something that happens as well - clients change agencies, and usually the PR companies are quite nice about passing you on. But I picked up on a certain vibe about Borkowski and Beige that made me go back to the search engine and discover that Beige had been set up after a nasty bust-up between Borkowski founder Mark Borkowski (with whom I recently appeared on Litopia After Dark) and the rest of the management. Mark took his name, and the agency left behind rebranded as Beige.

But here's the thing. They aren't Beige PR, they proudly say, they are just Beige. Well, that's all very well, but try putting Beige into a search engine. It doesn't tell you anything about PR agencies. Try Beige PR? Well, no, because they aren't called Beige PR etc. etc. Eventually, after reading half a dozen articles about the split between Borkowski and Beige I found an article with the Beige email address format, which led me (hurray) to their web address, which is beigelondon.com, in case you are interested.

I don't know about you, but I think the most obvious requirement for a PR company is to be easy to get in touch with. Journalists are lazy people. They can't be bothered to spend half the afternoon on a treasure hunt, trying to find an agency's website. Come on guys. Swallow your designer creative pride. Make sure Beige PR finds you, because Beige certainly doesn't.

2 comments:

  1. Brian, have never come across your blog before, but as a freelance journalist I have just spent half an hour solving the same problem.
    I totally agree with you
    I don't care how avant garde or counter intuitive a PR company wants to be, if they don't exist on Google they simply don't exist at all. I am not lazy and don't mind doing the leg work for a story, but when it comes to finding a PR company online - by their very nature - they should be absolutely screaming at you from the search engine. They aren't. In fact, they appear to be almost deliberately anonymous.

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  2. AJ - the only thing I would say in their defence is that a director of Beige was in touch as a result of the blog post and said that they are aware of the problem and that 'SEO guys are on the case so that searching for Beige PR brings up the site' - but the whole thing doesn't seem awfully well thought through from a company whose business is visibility.

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