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Creativity not priority for clients

CREATIVITY is, surprisingly, not the attribute that clients most value in PR agencies. Instead, companies most appreciate the agency's level of professionalism, and its ability to meet deadlines and keep promises, according to a survey published by Strategie, the Czech marketing magazine.

The largest book in the world as a creative PR tool.
photo: TASR

CREATIVITY is, surprisingly, not the attribute that clients most value in PR agencies. Instead, companies most appreciate the agency's level of professionalism, and its ability to meet deadlines and keep promises, according to a survey published by Strategie, the Czech marketing magazine.

The study focused on how clients perceive the work of PR agencies and what they consider to be the most important aspects of their work. It attempted to discover what clients are willing to pay for.

The professional level of the PR agency team was cited by the majority of respondents (69 percent) as most important. About the same ratio of clients ranked meeting deadlines and promises as the second most important quality. Third place belonged to the sort of services that could be provided by a "PR dream team". Writing skills were in fourth place and strategic advisory came fifth.

Creativity came in sixth place.

The number of articles published in the media, personal chemistry, knowledge of the client's field of work and quality of management all came lower down.

"I fully agree with the results. A client needs the tasks and projects to be done well, professionally and based on experience. No one wants to be a guinea pig," Michaela Benedigová, the managing director of Interel Public Relations, told The Slovak Spectator.

However, she emphasized that a good professional is constantly improving, learning and coming up with creative solutions based on experience.

While creativity only came sixth on the study's ranking, PR agencies are convinced that fresh ideas and intuitive approaches are a must in PR. Without creativity, clients would gradually lose interest in their services, the agencies say.

Štefan Vadocz, managing partner of Neopublic Porter Novelli, said: "All our clients want creativity. This is the core of PR success. Creativity is the engine that should drive all PR managers forward. Innovation, inspiration, and talent are three key ingredients in the work of a good PR agency."

Miriam Mádrová, account director at Omnipublic, pointed out that there has always been room for creativity.

"This is what we like and it motivates us in our work. For example, the press conference as a communication tool is already old hat, but the way you do it, including the contents, depends on how creative you are."

Here are some examples of creativity provided by Vadocz of Neopublic Porter Novelli:

- In 2004, the TV Channel Eurosport sent the media a press kit in a gold-coloured box. The press kit included a cooling compress for the eyes, a pack of coffee, and other small items. There was also a press release announcing that Eurosport would broadcast the Olympic Games 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A manual on how to use the items - matches for lighting the Olympic flame, how to make coffee for TV night marathons, and instructions for putting the compress on the eyes - was also included, although there was probably no need to explain.

- Hewlett-Packard (HP) paid for students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to visit Bhutan to take pictures for the largest book in the world. The book is now on sale at the Internet bookshop, Amazon.com, and has toured the world, attracting great media attention.

In Slovakia, the gimmick brought three cover stories in daily newspapers and 22 mentions in other media.

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