The other day I emailed a PR for some information about a brand. The reply I got was, ‘I don’t work on X Brand, so I will forward it to my colleague and she will email you.’ It wasn’t a complicated request at all, but somehow it felt implicit in the reply that I should have known that she wasn’t responsible for X Brand. I waited a bit…half a day I think, and got an email from the right person so had to start negotiations all over again. It got me thinking that this happens all too often: agencies need to work across all their brands – even if it’s scant knowledge, it is better than none at all. Blantantly refusing to deal with a brand that doesn’t fall into their particular remit is shortsighted and Jesus, irritating. It cannot be that hard to stuff a sample in an envelope even if you don’t work on the brand. Checking in the bible that is The Diary Directory, my rudimentary maths calculates that, of the 26 pages devoted to beauty brands, each with roughly 105 brands to a page, it amounts to an approximate total of 2730 brands. If each brand has its own invidual PR, or even if one PR looks after two or three brands, I am supposed to know who the hell you are, how?
It’s all very well to live in a bubble where the brand you look after is the one you live and breathe, but please spare a thought for us writers who need a knowledge bank of absurd proportions to ‘get the right person’. Maybe shifting the onus onto the writer to find someone to deal with a request that is going to bring your agency’s client publicity shouldn’t be this hard. Just a thought.
Oh and a final PS arising from Twitter comments when this post originally went out, it would be 100% lovely if all PRs could keep a price list handy for all brands. There is nothing more soul destroying than phoning for a price on deadline to be told ‘sorry, X is on voicemail, do you want to leave a message?’