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How does PR culture equate to PR success?

By David Beesley

We’re all aware of the (incorrect) stigma associated with the PR culture and its practitioners over the years. The working day starts at around 10:00am with a sharp 3:00pm finish, leaving enough time to get to the nearest bar to celebrate the hard work carried out during the day.

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This could not be further from the truth. Speak to anyone that has worked in a PR agency and they’ll tell you the reality is more like 45+ hour working weeks! But how does working long hours impact on creating a culture that can deliver?

When picking an agency to provide you with the support you need to reach your goals and objectives, it’s easy to focus on the campaign tactics and less so on the people who will be working with you.

Read our top tips to brief your new PR agency here

However, getting to know who you’ll be working with is very important before making your decision. So, with this in mind, I’m taking a look at what you need to be looking for when it comes to the PR culture your potential partner has and the questions you need to ask to make sure their culture matches your own. 

Teen Choice Awards 2018 Vibe GIF by FOX Teen Choice


Let's get ready to rumble!

First things first – in any prospect meeting the first impression can usually be the best indication as to whether this relationship is going to work or not.

The effort put into preparing both themselves and you as the potential new client for meetings or calls will either be a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ red flag. How these initial interactions are handled will indicate high levels of organisation and forward thinking – or a lack thereof.

Taking pride in having high standards of organisation, being forward thinking and having good time management shouldn’t just be personal traits, they should be part of the PR culture of a proactive consultancy. Demonstrating these traits should move a potential PR partner to stage two. 


Impractical Jokers vs Dragons' Den

Next, consider the way in which they interact with you – are they robotic and all business or are they personable and easy to deal with? There is no right answer here – it depends on what you are looking for in a PR partner in terms of personality. It is important to ensure that they ‘speak the same language’ so that there isn’t a disconnect when it comes to sharing information and reporting back to each other later on in the relationship.

Ensuring your agency matches your communication style may not seem important, but you’ll be thanking the stars when you’ve avoided that agency that can’t seem to reel in the endless ‘banter’ or the one that just didn’t get where your business is coming from, or where it’s going.

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Online vs physical representation

Now that you’ve met the team in person, it’s time for some research of your own. Whether you’re a fan or a critic of social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram, these are the two platforms that give agencies the chance to promote their work and their PR culture.

Some things to look out for:

  • Representation – is there diversity within the team?
  • The type and quality of content posted – is it modern or stale and outdated?
  • Sense of humour – is there one?
  • Work to fun balance – is it all work-based promotion or are they showcasing their employees and the things they do outside of slogging their guts out for clients?


Culture coding to success

Now that you have an insight into the people behind the PR consultancy, what else can you do? Check if they have a culture code or not.

A culture code should allow you to find out how employees feel about the company they work for, giving you an insight into some of the things that you can look forward to seeing and experiencing when working with them.

It will also provide the opportunity to see if your initial judgement ties up with what they are promoting as their company culture.

A company’s values should be apparent in everything they do and how they operate. Having core values go beyond company perks, they are the foundations of the company and the employees that work there. A company or team that operates with shared values is a happy team – and a happy team makes for a successful campaign!

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Tags: PR Advice