Whilst it’s chucking it down in Blighty I’m preparing to run a press trip next week to the Languedoc Roussillon area of France. Basically, it’s Marseilles and instead of looking right to the Cote d’Azur, you look left towards the Pyrenees. My husband and I had our very first trip together there when we got together. I can’t say it was an outrageous success. It rained, there were scorpions in the roof of our apartment, my husband’s bike broke (I now realise he breaks everything) but we had a very memorable time.
This trip is looking at two five star spas and a variety of treatments that are new to the beauty scene. The challenge I have is that two of the companies want to give my journalists facials and two facials in two days is one too many. Everyone wants to showcase the best treatments they can and it’s my job to balance these desires against creating a quality trip that actually takes into account what journalists want. In essence, this is the dilemma all PR’s have. Clients want the maximum they can out of a single trip, but PR’s like us have to balance this against our on-going relationships with journalists which has an implied duty of care. Care that journalists are not so tired at the end of the day that they are exhausted; care that they have time to respond to never-ending work e-mails so that they are not unduly stressed; care that the client is not taking the proverbial and ruining a PR’s relationship that has been built up over years. Clients get to walk away, PR’s don’t, we have to mend, repair and dissipate any problems clients create.
The worst experience for me was when a client had given Cheryl Cole a product (this is years ago). It was into five figures in terms of value and in return, Ms Cole had allegedly agreed to give an interview. The client insisted on OK! or Hello and, through my persuasion, the lovely Marcia Moody at OK! agreed to run the interview with three questions on the product included. Job done.
However, the client had not cleared it with Ms Cole for this title and it was found that she allegedly had some animosity towards OK! due to a previous shoot allegedly not going quite according to plan. Two days before the shoot I had to call Ms Moody, explain the non-appearance of Ms Cole and eat enormous quantities of humble pie. The client walked away as if nothing had happened.
These days, the management of the client/journalist relationship is the real key to a good PR. Journalists are our contacts, our gold and clients can only have judicious access. Balance is king.