The temptation for Bristol PR agencies to use notice periods from the get go will be as strong as anywhere else.
But I’m here to tell you that, in the jungle that is public relations, contractual notice periods can be the Boa constrictor of a promising PR campaign.
They have the power to squeeze the life out of you and your staff, dashing your dreams of success and putting you – the customer – on the back foot.
But it also depends on how they are used.
I don’t want to be unfair to those firms that use notice periods full stop because, guess what? We do too.
But NEVER on day one before we’ve proved ourselves. Notice periods allow companies to plan ahead, make sure they have the right number of staff and give them time to find new clients if one loses their mind and doesn’t see the value in PR any more (lunatics).
The PR companies we have a beef with are those that want to do it on day one. It prevents you from being able to take the suck-it-and-see approach to finding the right people for you – and it means they can provide poor service for longer, safe in the knowledge that the money is going to keep rolling in.
The only great thing about them is that they are self-identifying as ‘not that keen to impress’ which means you might prefer to shop around, and hey presto, you’re here!
The sad fact is that notice periods breed laziness, complacency and a sense of entitlement. If you hire a new member of staff they have a probation period and, if they’re not up to scratch, you can get rid of them on day TWO if you want to.
Why should it be any different for external consultants? When you first meet them, even if you’ve had a recommendation, you don’t know them from Adam.
The funny thing about recommendations is that you’ll never get one from someone in your own field either. That would be stupid! Your pal doesn’t want their PR firm helping the competition. So if you’re in a different sector, how do you know your business lends itself to PR at all, let alone that specific PR agency?
Among Bristol PR agencies we aim to be unique. Not only are we based in Bath (yes, it’s true, we are actually in the beautiful Georgian city but can see the gentle glow of commercial genius just over the hill there and want to help you) but we’re also the only agency who will refuse a notice period even if you suggest one.
Yes, we’ll actually take you aside and unless you mend your ways, tell you to get lost. The other Bristol PR agencies will welcome you with open arms (£££).
So even if you don’t pick up the phone to us – and the unhinged bunch that we are – make sure that when you phone an agency up, ask them what their notice period is for new clients.
If they back themselves to do a good job, it should be months before they tell you they’d like one (and even then, only if you require a significant amount of their time each month).
If the answer is anything more than five minutes, pretend you butt-dialled them and slam that receiver down…then call us.
You can get in touch here.