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How to make your PR agency dollars go further in Europe

In marketing, we strive to reach a single view of the customer. We recognise that customers may have multiple relationships with a brand and we don’t want to underestimate the value of a customer by only seeing part of the picture. As a consumer we know that there’s nothing more frustrating than when a service provider fails to recognise the complete value of our relationship with a brand. Like when a bank fails to recognise that you hold a collection of their products (e.g. mortgage, current account, credit card, and savings account) with them, only seeing you as a consumer of one of their products and failing to recognise your loyalty and investment as a result.

This sentiment is what led Tyto to develop a new model for how we work with pan-European clients. In my previous life leading another international PR firm, we always struggled with the single view of the customer because a customer relationship was more often than not managed based upon its individual parts (the different countries you operated in) rather than its whole due to the way international agencies are financially structured around multiple P&Ls.

Let’s take the example of a $20k per month client engagement to represent a brand in the UK, France and Germany. After the champagne is drunk to celebrate a new $240k per year client, in my old world a client would quickly become seen as three smaller accounts instead of one large $240k per year account. The reason for this is that, in most international agencies, the different countries have their own P&Ls that office managing directors are accountable for. The result? Often weekly battles between country managing directors within the international PR firm to claim a higher share of the client’s revenue, with little thought given to what is right for the client.

Step back from this for a moment

You are a brand that is spending $240k per annum on your European PR, but you are made to feel (essentially by three separate agencies) like a client that is spending $80k per annum (one-third of $240k). Do you know what that difference feels like? I do. It is the difference between how you are treated in the sales process and how you are treated after the champagne has been drunk by your new PR agency, and your account and budget are divided among the three subsidiary offices that will be representing you.

Not a week goes by when I don’t have a conversation with an international business that has entered Europe and been underwhelmed by the treatment they have received as a pan-European client. They are usually spending a significant amount on European PR support but they get told that their budget in [insert country] is not that high because they are being treated as three separate smaller clients rather than one large one.

Behind the scenes, managing directors will be squabbling over what proportion of the client’s revenue they get. The initial excitement you felt emanating from an agency winning a $240k per year account will have been replaced by a feeling that you are a much smaller deal to the individual country offices representing your day-to-day. To put it bluntly, this feels like a serious anti-climax following a sales pitch process in which you were made to feel like the star in your own movie.

What’s the answer to this? Or what is Tyto’s answer to this?

Firstly, we operate as one pan-European team, with one management structure and one P&L. We call this PRWithoutBorders. This means that there are no internal competing forces for a client’s revenue. We manage your account and your priorities to suit your business priorities, not our own. If you want to dial up or down a focus in a certain country that is fine, it makes no difference to us.

Secondly, we build one pan-European team to service an account made up of on the ground market experts from the different territories in which we are representing a brand, rather than three loosely affiliated account teams. This immediately makes us significantly more efficient and streamlined so we can deliver far more results for the same level of investment. It also means that we have a much better understanding and appreciation of your market and business across Europe because we aren’t operating in silos. It’s the difference between essentially hiring three different agencies to work for you and hoping for the best that they will communicate effectively, versus hiring just one that operates without borders.

Finally, it is about a feeling. It is about the feeling that when you are investing $240k per year on your European PR you are being treated like a business that is making a substantial investment in European PR support. You should never be made to feel like a client that is investing a third of this because you are being incorrectly viewed from a siloed perspective based on the investment you are making in one area of Europe.

To find out more, simply contact the Tyto team today.