A PR practitioner should therefore always ask: is this a product that I would use myself, that I would want my family to use, and that I would – even if I weren’t being paid to promote it – be happy to recommend.
Alas, in some of the smaller agencies, this criteria does not exist. I get entirely why smaller agencies accept clients with disappointing or very average products. They need the money. But such clients bring a short-term benefit with long-term repetitional damage.
The reputation damage occurs in two ways. Firstly, pestering journalists about a client with bad products makes you think that you’re not a deliverer of useful material. Your emails will get automatically ushered into the spam box.
Second, your clients will hate you. They won’t blame themselves for producing bad products, not least because you told them when you pitched for the work that you’d get them on the front page of The Financial Times and on the ITV News at Ten. “I hired that PR firm and they achieved nothing” will be uttered in the golf club.