New customer wins are a great way to promote your firm, so are case studies, examples and awards. In the case of the Oscars last night, the winning films, producers, actors and actresses received the frontline attention. Kudos to the publicity firms that did their job effectively, garnering their clients the win of a lifetime. While their clients shine in the spotlight, PR professionals diligently oversee and execute in the background – ensuring no item of the publicity campaign is overlooked and that their client earns maximum recognition. But what happens when the fine lines between ethics and integrity are blurred? Is it appropriate for a publicity firm to tout its name in the headlines when it’s their clients that won? Is it acceptable for publicity firms to headline the news when the job they were hired to do was successful?
Public Relations is the art of effectively communicating your clients’ messages to the greater public, including the media, analysts, consumers and other businesses. Representing a company is a treasure; it is a relationship based on trust. Each day, publicists tout the news and accomplishments of their clients: ‘Client Wins National Book Award’, ‘Agency Y PR Announces Three New Clients’, etc. These standard PR announcements are released for a multitude of reasons: 1) they announce to the public that there are new firms the PR agencies will be talking about; 2) they bring the attention to awards and opportunities for its industry; 3) they send a congratulatory message to and for clients, with the client names in the headlines. So, when the publicity or Public Relations firm ‘steals’ the spotlight, touting their success in getting their clients the win, what does that mean for the art of what we do as a whole?
Integrity is a key term Public Relations firms hold on to in their quest to garner the best and most accurate coverage for clients. At the end of the day, PR firms should treat their clients like they are the ‘Oscar nominated’ winners at everything they do. Company names, products and their successes should be front and center – not the names of agency or publicity firms who should be ensuring their clients have made headline news. Making sure your PR firm stays relevant without stealing the spotlight (or taking it – ‘grandstanding’, as we call it) is equally as important.
When looking for the right PR firm to represent your company, it’s important to note that your company should always be the headline – not your PR firm. Their accolades should be theirs to tout (campaign awards, industry recognitions, etc.), but not at the ‘publicity expense’ of their customers. There’s a reason that the red carpet stars are always photographed alone or with their significant others and not their publicists. Yes, they are there and oftentimes, can be spotted in the background. However, they are not typically posing for photos; they are hustling, working and ensuring that their clients look grand in the spotlight, identifying new opportunities to get them on camera and ensuring they are always front and center. They are busy doing the job they were hired to do.
At iMiller Public Relations, our clients are treasured and respected. Ensuring their achievements remain in the headlines is our number one priority, because we realize that our success is measured only by the success of our clients. The iMPR team is happy to work hard behind the scenes, knowing that we play an integral ‘supporting role’ in our clients’ accomplishments.