I live my life under the belief that “no deed goes unnoticed, no debt goes unpaid.” Simply translated this means doing good things will bring positive things into your world and being a dick will come back to haunt you, as life’s pendulum swings back and bitch-slaps you when you least expect it. Although I have no formal religion in my life, this guiding principle influences my actions in both my personal and professional worlds.
To say PR agencies have a bad reputation is an understatement. It’s unfortunate that the bad behavior of a few PR agencies/people has affected the reputation of an entire industry. We can sit around and whine about it or we can conduct ourselves in a manner that changes people’s perspectives.
I am going to put a big-ass, stinky turd on the table. The scenario goes something like this:
An agency puts financial growth ahead of everything: ethical behavior, employee happiness, client satisfaction, et.al. This agency chases new business like whore in Vegas chases a John. They trample over anyone and anything in their path, fiercely focused on the prize of landing a cache piece of new business — one that will somehow validate their importance as a playa’. They look like the teenage girl trying to come between a boy and his existing girlfriend. When the targeted client communicates they are happy with their existing agency, the agency on the hunt starts to sling mud to attempt to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about the client’s existing agency. Therein lies the biggest tragedy of all — in doing so the whore agency adds fuel to the fire of the negative perspective that exists within our industry. They become more of a PR-attacking terrorist than Michael Arrington could ever dream of being.
It’s time to stop the madness and get your self-centered, egotistical-driven ass on the high road. I suggest the following to ensure good karma:
- Never — under any circumstances — try to come between an agency and a happy client. A happy client/agency relationship is good for our whole industry because that client now becomes a repeater and amplifier of how positive a PR agency experience can be.
- Compete on results vs. trash talking. If you are in an agency review, scream to the high heavens about the great results you have delivered existing clients. Look to win the biz based on those results versus slamming your competitors. You are hurting everyone, including your own agency, when you verbally shit on a competitor. And remember, what goes around comes around — last I heard, getting shit on sucks.
- Evolve your business. Web 2.0 has changed everything in the PR world and it’s fantastic news. Immerse yourself in it, so you can compete successfully based on the merits of your core competencies instead of acting like a ‘Ho by pimping yourself at the expense of a competitor. Moreover, evolve so these PR terrorists won’t have any more eff-ups to point to when they put us on the dirt-bag short list that includes child molesters and Michael Vick.
- Proactively turn a prospect over to a competitor. Yes, you read that correctly. Try doing something completely selfless and something most businesses on the planet would never do. The good karma that flows from that single act will be overwhelming.
- Although most agencies would never admit it, there are agencies they respect and admire. When you lose a piece of new biz to one of those great agencies, tell the client they made a great decision and that you would have hired that agency if you were in their shoes.
- Let your agency’s reputation and the results you deliver drive new business to you versus chasing any tail you can get like a horny drunk right before last call. The model is simple: Deliver great results for your clients and they will refer other clients to you at a rate no full-time, competitor-bashing Biz Dev person could ever achieve.
- Never act like the anonymous, industry-slamming, pussy “PR Veteran” did when commenting on a Silicon Alley Insider post about a PR agency. (His comment are #11 & #13). If you insist on slamming another agency have the balls to do it under your real name. The bad karma this dink weed will get as a result of his actions will leave his head spinning.
- Evaluate your success on non-financial metrics like employee happiness and client satisfaction. As soon as you stop worshiping the alter of the almighty dollar, you will find ethical behavior becomes core to your DNA and good karma will be on your side.
What do you think?