Top 3 Questions You Should Ask When Selecting a New PR Agency

Q) How much information do I ask for about the agency?
A) In the section where you request information about the agency,  ask questions about the agency’s history and general capabilities, as well as what kind of language abilities they have.   Be aware that unless you ask for a degree of fluency, they may put down language abilities that are not precisely as you wish. 
Following are examples of information that you may want to request:

  • Please provide an overview of your company's history and background, including date of founding, size, number of direct employees, number of contracted employees (if applicable), location of offices, countries covered, and whether public/investor relations is your primary business.
  • If you have operations in multiple countries, please include information on how you manage projects across the region on behalf of your clients.
  • If you have partners in other countries, please detail this information.
  • Describe the language capabilities of account management staff, and classify on the following scale: Bilingual, Fluent, Working Knowledge, Limited Knowledge.
  • Describe the points of contact that would be assigned to your account.
  • Describe your project management approach and requirements.
  • Describe the steps you take to protect files and other company information from corruption, virus infection and access by unauthorized parties.
  • Please describe your company’s non-disclosure policy.
  • Please provide a list of your top three customers and the percentage of your business that they represent.
  • Please detail your hours of operation and holiday coverage policy.

Q) How much information should I provide regarding my direct requirements?
A) Include all of the information you wish the agency to know regarding their management of your account or your project.  The more specific you can be, the better the bid, and the less likely you will get surprises.

  • If you are interviewing an agency to cover multiple markets, separate out each country’s requirements,.  
  • Make sure you list every job you wish the agency to provide to you.   In some countries, it is common practice to add extra fees for ‘non scope’ items that are higher than they would have been if specified in the bid.
  • Specify the level of creativity you wish the agency to use in their campaigns.
  • Ask about how the agency takes into account cultural issues.  This is especially important when an agency is working in multiple markets.
  • Ask for examples of other campaigns that you can view.

Q) How do I ask about pricing?
A) When working with an agency outside of your own country, currency changes are one of the items that can be costly.   Be aware that some agencies in other countries offering to charge in your own currency are most likely factoring in a healthy profit for taking on the exchange risk.   It is usually best to ask the agency to quote in its own currency so you can evaluate which pricing model works best for your company.  Here are some sample questions to ask:

  • Please describe your agency’s fee structure in detail. If the currency would vary for projects in different countries, please specifiy.
  • What extra fees may be charged and for what services?   Please specify any rush, emergency, or weekend fees that may be incurred.   Here, you should specify if any weekend or holiday work will be required.
  • Ask for them to be specific regarding is the services included in the retainer.  This will help avoid unpleasant surprises later on.   Some agencies include many services in their retainers that you may be accustomed to seeing in the itemized charges. 
  • Be sure to ask for detailed information on pricing for any translation services that will be included.   Ask for a per word rate per language and for the turnaround time guarantees you would like.  If you anticipate that weekend and emergency/rush translation will be needed, ask for that as well.  Also ask them to specify whether any machine-translation aids are being used. 

Remember – it doesn’t cost anything to get bids from agencies.  Even larger global agencies you think you cannot afford may actually be within your cost structure, so it’s worth sending your RFQ to any agency you feel may be a good fit.  

Please contact us at international@prnewswire.com with any questions as you’re working up your own RFQ template.  We’ll be happy to work with you to create an RFQ that works best for your specific needs.
 

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