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Need PR Help?  

Choosing a public relations consultancy can be a difficult business. There are a lot of questions you should ask yourself as well as the agencies you approach.

After all, you are embarking on a journey which depends for its success on openness, honesty and mutual respect. The relationship with your public relations practitioner may well be closer than that with your accountant, advertising agency, lawyer or HR consultant.

When they work well, such relationships often last a long time.


Questions to ask:

  • Do I want to hire in-house specialists, or a consultancy?

    Consultants bring an outsider's perspective, while having the benefit of insider knowledge.

    They are less likely to be influenced by in-house politics and hierarchies when tendering advice on sensitive topics.

    Unless your organisation has the resources to hire several PR staff, a consultancy should be able to offer a wider range of skills and expertise than any one individual staff member.

    PR workloads, by their very nature, tend to ebb and flow, especially for organisations in the public eye. Effective consultancies have a work culture which enables them to meet round-the-clock client demands if necessary.

  • Big or small consultancy?

    Large consultancies inevitably tend to be more corporate in their outlook than the WHAMs of this world. Clients deal with the company principals from time to time, but most routine work tends to be done by waged staff.

    With a smaller consultancy like WHAM, you will deal more frequently with the company's principals. Inevitably, the client-consultant relationship and commitment is more personal.

Large consultancies often have offices in several New Zealand centres and sometimes overseas. This may be of benefit, depending on the skill sets and experience of the staff in the other centres.

WHAM has links with consultancies in other centres and internationally but, because the relationship is not binding, we have the freedom to choose the best people for your job.  

  • What do you need done?

    If you want someone to be spokesperson, an in-house person is best. Be mindful, however, that there will be times when the only credible spokesperson for the organisation will be the chairman, president or chief executive.

    If you want top level strategic advice, can you afford to pay for it? Unless an in-house PR adviser reports directly to the chief executive, their credibility will depend on their place in the corporate pecking order. Top-level PR people command substantial six figure salaries - it may well be more economic to buy these skills from a consultant on an 'as-required' basis.

    If you want someone to do corporate media releases, the annual report, newsletters and support the sales team, there are plenty of people who are happy to do this for a salary. And, if your area of activity is fashionable or in the public eye, you may well be able to retain talented practitioners on your payroll for many years.

    However, many businesses produce products and services which have little glamour or media appeal, making it difficult to retain talented and creative PR staff for more than a year or two. In these circumstances a consultancy may be the best option, in terms of skills, continuity and institutional memory.

For organisations which can't justify the employment of a full-time PR person, or where the need is for a range of services requiring different levels of expertise, a consultancy is the best bet.


Ring us now for an obligation-free, confidential chat


WHAM Media – 385 Jackson Street, Petone, Wellington
Ph: +64 4 970 4589 | Cell: +64 21 381 465 | Email: twalton[at]wham.co.nz