By Nisso Cohen
Since I've retired from my journalistic career to start PR operations, I have been running into this question almost daily. Which is better? A small firm or a major agency? While I'm writing this from within the business, I have ample experience to prove my case.
The main advantage of a small PR firm is the relatively low cost of the PR service or the monthly retainer. A small PR firm is usually the PR professional's SOHO or another small premise. As a result, overhead is minimal, wages are not exorbitant either and the monthly retainer is significantly smaller than the price commanded by a mid-size or a large agency such as The Koteret Group.
However, the small PR firm has shortcomings too, the main one being the heavy workload shouldered by the professionals. Small retainers translate into a single media consultant handling many accounts, often as many as a dozen or more! Under the typical scenario of the professional who works from home, the workload might be as heavy as 20 accounts handled by the same person.
It follows that the attention a small firm can devote to each account, in particular when this account is a proactive corporation with a marketing orientation, is very limited. A small firm will settle for writing and distributing one or two press releases a month. It will not provide any strategic consulting; it will not be there for your 24X7 and when the PR pro is called on an IDF reserve duty, the client can only hope the military service involves nearby office work, not a remote field assignment.
This very shortcoming of the small PR firm is the significant upside of the large agency, such as the Koteret Group. Smaller firms have fewer media opportunities, which agencies of Koteret caliber enjoy an abundance of. Editors contact Koteret on a daily basis in request for proposed articles, interviews, multi-angle stories and bylines. TV and radio editors and investigators call us to help them arrange interviewees for their morning, noon and evening talk shows. Why us? Because we have a range of accounts and because we represent many executives, but mainly because they know we are accessible, ready, and prepared to leverage every opportunity, immediately notifying our work teams to spring into action.
Unlike small PR firms which consist of one dominant figure plus one or two "juniors", Koteret employs mature and experienced media consultants, former journalists and spokespeople or outstanding graduates of domestic or foreign agencies. Each account is assigned a team of media consultant and team leader. The team leaders report directly to me, the CEO of the Group. Koteret's internal reporting and information system provide an instant 360° view of the ongoing activity; Quarterly work plans are reviewed regularly, problems are reported continually, crises are intervened with immediately and wild, yet genius ideas are assessed on the spot to ensure they strike the iron while it's still hot.
Inevitably, the asking price of large PR agency is higher than the fee of smaller PR firms, as explained by some of the factors listed above. Nonetheless, I feel these are the considerations which should guide you in choosing a PR agency:
· The Koteret Group is active in this field since 1986;
· Some of our clients have been with us for 13-14 years, even more; the average client tenure at Koteret is 6-7 years.
We take pride in the fact that our long standing accounts keep rediscovering us and benefit from our resourcefulness, creativity, constant renewal, exploration of new areas, and most importantly, from our uncompromising professionalism and unrelenting pursuit of results. This is the Koteret Group of which I am too very proud.