Working with Competing PR Agencies (in 5 Stages)

One of my favorite YouTube videos in high school was the giraffe who experienced five Stages of Grief in quicksand. Revisiting that video makes me laugh as I compare those same reactions to the work environment, and, more specifically, situations beyond our control, like working jointly with another agency. Don’t get me wrong, I usually look forward to those opportunities. They are an incredible learning and networking experience; however, there are times when we are put in situations with other competing PR agencies that just don’t mesh well with our own standards and practices. That’s the time when you have to watch

competing pr agencies

One of my favorite YouTube videos in high school was the giraffe who experienced five Stages of Grief in quicksand. Revisiting that video makes me laugh as I compare those same reactions to the work environment, and, more specifically, situations beyond our control, like working jointly with another agency.

Don’t get me wrong, I usually look forward to those opportunities. They are an incredible learning and networking experience; however, there are times when we are put in situations with other competing PR agencies that just don’t mesh well with our own standards and practices. That’s the time when you have to watch the giraffe experience five stages of grief, laugh and move on.

5 Stages of Working with Competing PR Agencies

1. Denial

Our client still likes us, right? This was beyond their control. We’re still in charge. We just need to keep acting like everything is normal. We’re cool. That other agency got nothin’ on us! We understand the media.

2. Anger

WHY are we being asked to work with competing PR agencies? Doesn’t our client TRUST us? We know what we’re doing! We hate change. Why are they asking us to do something differently? Everything was going fine before they came along.

3. Bargaining

Ok. You’re right, you do have a contact at that outlet, it’s better if you reach out to them. But, we’re still in charge, OK? This was our client first. We have a plan. Besides, we had a few other hits that our client loved … but you’re doing a good job too. You reach out to your contacts, we’ll reach out to ours. It’s all about delegating appropriately. We’ve got this.

4. Depression

The other agency got way more traction than we did. Our client loves them more. We’re terrible at media relations. Is it time to quit? Is this PR burnout? When does our contract with them expire, again? We love working with them. We hate that we’re gonna lose them. Where’s the ice cream and/or wine?

5. Acceptance

This other agency is pretty awesome. We learned a lot from them, and they definitely helped us out with this project/event. We have lots of new ideas, a few new contacts to talk to and more success because we collaborated with another competing PR agency. This other agency was never trying to take our client, they just wanted to help. We’re so awesome. We love this client! We love our jobs! Where’s the celebratory wine?

Hope you enjoyed the laugh! Anything to add? Find me on Twitter at @Tara_Parsell!

Belle Communication

Belle Communication is a woman-owned and led, nationally awarded and top-ranked digital PR agency that helps brands unlock the power of influencers. The firm serves the CPG, retail, restaurant, tourism and B2B industries, and has partnered with more than 80 brands including Dearfoams, Nestlé, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Nationwide Insurance.