Thursday, 15 September 2005

Analysts say tech waffle is 'most frustrating'

Analysts say tech waffle is 'most frustrating', according to the new AR division of Rainier PR, an agency in England. Its research reports that EMEA analysts feel that AR by PR agencies with with an AR division is better than AR from a PR firm without one. However, our first reaction is cautious: after all, they would say that, wouldn't they?

Regular readers of this blog know that our stance is that almost all PR agencies stink at AR: we have met them all, and just don't feel comfortable using them. While many PR firms do claim to have AR divisions, we've always Googled these guys when we've come across them. Most of them seem to be full-time PR people with an extra set of business cards.

Needless to say, our stance touches a raw nerve especially amongst AR people in the PR world, like Duncan, who previously worked for Brodeur. A terse little email from him tells us "It's totally counterproductive to focus your fire on PR agencies that are trying to make analyst relations better. There aren't many AR people, in-house on in agencies, that will take the time to ask analysts what they really want. Our surveys of analysts show that even major vendors, with mature AR outreach, aren't giving analysts what they need".

It seems to us that this is partly right, but we still think it's Duncan who's missing the point. Most PR agencies think that AR means organizing briefings. Period. That's what the research that we mentioned earlier focused on, to the exclusion of anything else. It's certainly a step forward for PR agencies to understand that briefings should be better, but it doesn't help them to wise up to a broader view. Research like this encourages people to focus more on the briefing, and less on how to build and leverage a relationship with analysts. Rather than making the annual corporate road trip a little better, why not try to break the cycle of briefing and silence that seems so very comfortable for both PR agencies and executives?

1 comment:

Duncan Chapple said...

This post totally misses the point. Many PR agencies are weak at AR, and it's precisely because they understand that fact that has led the Rainier AR team to actually go out and interview analysts and find out what they want. I know the people at Rainier, and they've led successful AR programmes for a number of clients. So have many other PR agencies: Brodeur, Firefly, Hill & Knowlton, HFN, Pleon, Waggener Edstom and Weber Shandwick have all built strong AR practices. To dismiss them because some of the staff have media relations background is also bizarre: so do many in-house analyst relations managers. In fact, the results driven and relationship-oriented ethos of a PR team can be a much better training ground than the bitter, over-politicised of a in-house AR manager.