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Old 04-26-2019, 05:28 PM #1
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Default Charlatans

I'm so exhausted so forgive typos. I'm so over this PR firm we have contracted with.

So we launched this national project. Just to clear things up, I am a consultant, but I work almost full-time with one client. So if I say "my boss" I mean "my client" and vice versa.

We have been designing and planning for this big national social media campaign that is also part of a scientific study. We decided that we didn't have the capacity to also run a PR campaign to get the word out through traditional media about this new health resource we created. So we contracted with this firm.

At first they came in and wanted to do all this stuff, didn't understand the project, actually gave us a bid to take over and redo our project (which they aren't qualified to do since they aren't researchers) and also wanting to change our project from what it was (and it's important because it's a specific thing we are studying through this to change health behaviors) and make it something entirely different, which wouldn't be research-evidence-based.

After some discussions they said they understood the project and were on board and wanted to promote it for us. Except every step of the way in every document they produce, I have to fix the language because they keep messaging it incorrectly or worse, not even calling the disease area by the right name.

First, they cancel calls at the last minute or call in late and hop off calls early with no explanation.

During our launch week, they told us they were busy with other clients. Seriously?

They have yet to submit their revised scope of work.

Everything we request that they say they will get to us by X day has to be followed up on and is given late and not right and therefore has to be redone.

They drafted an Op-Ed at our request for our lead to submit and it's not even an op-ed, it was just a regurgitation of a blog post that we wrote for our blog.

When asked for a specific plan for any given thing, they waste time writing us briefs on a ton of background but with no specific plan to implement anything. So it's basically useless.

They pushed us to put the press release out two days before the website went live, then told us after the fact that it probably didn't get any traction because the site wasn't live when the press release hit the wire. So, um, why didn't they realize that when they told us to put it out two days before?

The only interview they've gotten us so far is a crap local free daily paper. The PR rep was supposed to meet my boss there early, but, of course, she was late and didn't have any time to prep her.

Early this morning, before the interview, my boss called ME to prep her, because she doesn't like them and doesn't want to deal with them.

They don't know how to pitch our project in a compelling way. And they don't understand our field.

I don't know why we are working them. This is just a bad fit. Anytime I ask for anything they give me a hostile, defensive attitude.

My colleagues agree with me we should end the contract. We aren't tied to any time frame, especially since they haven't submitted the scope of work and since it's a monthly agreement. Also I think we could just list all the crap I listed above and say "you are not responsive, you do not communicate, and you are not communicating our cause in a way we approve."

My boss has said we could end the contract if myself and my colleague agree. The thing is, I want someone out there pitching for us. But I don't know that what they are pitching is useful.

And so far it's just a pain in my *** to deal with them. And I have to redo a lot of their work, so I can't even get the work I am paid to do done.

I think we need to look for a different firm. And I think it's okay for us to put a bid out for a new firm. And we should be pickier with hiring. I wish these people well but they are just floundering and we shouldn't be paying them to fail on our time.

I gotta say that it's particularly annoying that they don't return calls or answer emails at times, and then don't come to meetings or do come late and leave early, or dismiss us when we tell them the messaging is wrong.

I think we just sack em and move on. Why waste our time dealing with their nonsense? They should be making our lives easier. They are not. So let's just move on and find someone who can do this and make it easier for us. Right? Why are we committing to this suffering when we don't need to?

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Old 04-26-2019, 05:56 PM #2
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Default Re: Charlatans

Omg!!! That’s atrocious! Definitely get rid of them. Yes go elsewhere. They are not serving you or your client well. Quite shocking they’re even in business!!
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:31 PM #3
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Default Re: Charlatans

Quote:
At first they came in and wanted to do all this stuff, didn't understand the project, actually gave us a bid to take over and redo our project ........

After some discussions they said they understood the project and were on board and wanted to promote it for us.
Sounds like they NEVER really comprehended the project. Maybe they are capable of doing things they have done before, not a new challenge they really don't understand. Kinda like they can't learn anything new or new concepts.

Yep....time to get rid of them & find a PR firm that can actually communicate their understanding rather than just say they do.

Ugh, I lived with a H who was like that way too long. Told him things & he would say he understood but bottom line he never had a clue let alone any understanding. Impossible to work with companies like that where their need is critical.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:56 PM #4
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Yeah, it's difficult though because my boss can be indecisive about these things and she's also this very nurturing person who is willing to let people grow with her, but she has to, sometimes, just demand someone be and act like an expert and not need her to facilitate them. Like why is she accepting this crap from them?

But she has really left it to me and my colleague to decide. Funny thing is, I almost quit the project during launch week because of their behavior and that she wanted to let them be responsible for things. I think we need to cut our losses and look for someone else. Even if it's someone less experienced but at least who will work well with us.

I don't know who this woman thinks she is that she can treat her clients this way and keep them.

I am also wondering if we just say, look, this behavior needs to stop or we will end the contract. But that means we have to confront them, and my understanding is that the last time they tried to address this stuff they got super upset. And I also dont get that. We are the client. Not you. Why are you getting your panties in a twist when the client says they dont think you understand the project? And why did they contract with them when they acted like this?

I was in the midst of my move when they contracted them (which i knew they were taking bids). If I had been around, no way I would have agreed to work with these two manipulative people. Working in PR doesnt mean you act horribly to your clients.
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Primary Dx: C-PTSD and Severe Chronic Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder
Secondary Dx: Generalized Anxiety Disorder with mild Agoraphobia.

Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

Treatments I've done: CBT, DBT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Talk therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, sleeping more, sleeping less...
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:08 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden_eve View Post
Omg!!! That’s atrocious! Definitely get rid of them. Yes go elsewhere. They are not serving you or your client well. Quite shocking they’re even in business!!
I think she keeps them around or has so far because we do need help. But help that we have redo is not help.

And she keeps trying say "oh, let Sarah coach you on this social media thing" except Sarah is less experienced than me and isn't able to give coaching or help strategize. I've asked her to and all she can do is give useless background or ideas that dont fit our project/work.

And I even gave this person the opportunity to create some things for us and she has never followed through. They don't get that it's not that we dont know or understand PR. I very much do. Have worked closely with them my whole career. The issue is o only have 45 hours a week to devote to this work. And I cannot do everything.

They come in and are downright insulting about things. Why would we even work with them? I wouldn't work with someone who wasnt 150% excited about what I do. And, btw, I dont take clients if I'm not excited by what they do.

Ug, this is just so frustrating..
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What if I fall? Oh, my dear, but what if you fly?

Primary Dx: C-PTSD and Severe Chronic Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder
Secondary Dx: Generalized Anxiety Disorder with mild Agoraphobia.

Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

Treatments I've done: CBT, DBT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Talk therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, sleeping more, sleeping less...
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:13 PM #6
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Default Re: Charlatans

Quote:
Originally Posted by eskielover View Post


Sounds like they NEVER really comprehended the project. Maybe they are capable of doing things they have done before, not a new challenge they really don't understand. Kinda like they can't learn anything new or new concepts.

Yep....time to get rid of them & find a PR firm that can actually communicate their understanding rather than just say they do.

Ugh, I lived with a H who was like that way too long. Told him things & he would say he understood but bottom line he never had a clue let alone any understanding. Impossible to work with companies like that where their need is critical.
I'm not event kidding, she sent me a pitch document with the wrong name of the disease area. When I politely corrected it, she told me she got it from some articles she read online about it. My thought instantly was "we've published 100 research articles in peer reviewed journals on this. Did you read any of those? Did you look at what it's called on our website?"

My boss had done this self recorded intro video that was authentic and open and warm and inviting. They pushed us to reshoot it. And they directed it. And they made her look terrible. And I dont know how you do that. This woman is the expert in the field. The expert. Nationally and internationally. And she is lovely and authentic and warm. They over directed her and made her look like a novice.

I need to put my foot down. Honestly if I say flat out "we're wasting money..let's cut our losses. We've learned a few things, that's great. Let's move on" i think they all listen.

It's costing us more staff time to work with them than what we are getting out of it.
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What if I fall? Oh, my dear, but what if you fly?

Primary Dx: C-PTSD and Severe Chronic Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder
Secondary Dx: Generalized Anxiety Disorder with mild Agoraphobia.

Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

Treatments I've done: CBT, DBT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Talk therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, sleeping more, sleeping less...
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:15 PM #7
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Is it a collective decision that you must make with your client or can you do this independently? If it's a collective decision, I would very professionally pull together a list of the facts and where PR firm has failed and present it to the client with your reasons for wanting to hire another and better PR firm, along with a few potential prospects. Most importantly backing up with the facts how this PR firm is not representing the business properly and is costing the firm more time and resources. You are a precious resource/partner, after all, and it's costing you additional time. Also, as a sidenote, I've NEVER heard of a press release going live without a link to the website. What's the point of a press release then? Unheard of!
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:27 PM #8
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There was a link, but it wasn't live yet because we werent launching for two more days. They wanted us to put it out before the launch. But I'm not sure why they made that recommendation if they knew it would be a problem.

It's not my decision but if I day pull the plug, they will. I've already outlined all this to my client and she is aware and agrees. She said that me and my colleague should decide together at the end of this month if it is something we want to continue. I think maybe if I do some research and present some alternatives, maybe that will help.

Even if their scope if simply limited to pitching this to news outlets, it is unacceptable for her to be late. My client wants to be supported and reassured. Even though she's a total pro, she still wants someone standing up with her. She plays off like she's a natural presenter. And she is good. But she's not a performer. I'm a trained performer, and I get why she's wanting some support. She just wants someone on her side, backing her up. She wants to be staffed. Which, btw, is totally normal. I've staffed numerous clients, acting as an assistant, at numerous events. If it gets the job done, I'm not too humble to prop my client up.

And the thing is, the client has to trust you. And she doesn't and neither do the rest of us. So I dont know what they can when they've already shown what little integrity they have. The only way for them to clean that up is for us to give then that chance and continue paying them. I'm not up for that idea. Not when I have to raise the money to pay them.
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What if I fall? Oh, my dear, but what if you fly?

Primary Dx: C-PTSD and Severe Chronic Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder
Secondary Dx: Generalized Anxiety Disorder with mild Agoraphobia.

Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

Treatments I've done: CBT, DBT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Talk therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, sleeping more, sleeping less...
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:07 PM #9
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Pull the plug is my advice. Come up with a good list of alternatives and present them. A website link that wasn't live yet is totally unacceptable, along with every other portion of evidence that states this PR firm is HORRIFIC. One PR result from all their work? I've even done better than that through SEO outreach work to news outlets for clients myself!!!! lol! Good riddance. This is a very sad PR firm that should close its doors. Pathetic, really. You can do do much better. I know you can. You know you can.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:30 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden_eve View Post
Pull the plug is my advice. Come up with a good list of alternatives and present them. A website link that wasn't live yet is totally unacceptable, along with every other portion of evidence that states this PR firm is HORRIFIC. One PR result from all their work? I've even done better than that through SEO outreach work to news outlets for clients myself!!!! lol! Good riddance. This is a very sad PR firm that should close its doors. Pathetic, really. You can do do much better. I know you can. You know you can.
Yeah, they did mention we needed better SEO copy on the website but they haven't made any suggestions. Like we have to go ask them to specifically list something out and like give detailed instructions for them to do anything.

And actually, they reviewed the website copy for the new site before we went live and didn't make any suggestions regarding SEO copy. So I don't get how they bring up all these things we should have done after the fact when they were there when we were doing it and asked to give input. ???

Yeah, I need to find some alternatives for sure. I don't think really like 1-2 weeks is that much time to get PR results BUT they've been really slow to get things done. Like they don't seem to know what they are doing at all. Like maybe they can't handle their own workload or something and therefore are falling out of integrity with us because they just want the client in their portfolio but don't actually have time to do the work.

Guess I will spend some time this weekend, on my birthday, figuring out how to remedy this.

Seesaw
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What if I fall? Oh, my dear, but what if you fly?

Primary Dx: C-PTSD and Severe Chronic Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder
Secondary Dx: Generalized Anxiety Disorder with mild Agoraphobia.

Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

Treatments I've done: CBT, DBT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Talk therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, sleeping more, sleeping less...
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