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Re: Paying the price
Chapman, Spira & Carson - Disscusion

From: Robert A. Spira
Date: 5/4/99
Time: 7:57:29 AM
Remote User:


Jon, you make an excellent point. In spite of that fact we have seen an emergence of young companies in this country on a scale unparalleled in history. The record seems to indicate that those that are dedicated seem to get the job done one way or the other. While I would grant you that top Public Relations People are charging more and more for their services it is a fact of life that as a greater number of companies chase a relatively static number of highly trained public relations experts prices will increase, and justifiably so.

Thus, we need a melding of new public relations blood to go with the upsurge in new companies needing this type of help. As we see it, Public Relations firms have two roles to perform in this world, the first, to be talented and able to do a great job for their clients, the second, to be able to expose their abilities to potential clients so that they get hired. Very often, Public Relations people are so busy taking care of their clients that they don't become well known in an industry and it becomes something akin to the age old question, is their sound if there is no one around to here the noise. What good is being great if there is no one to evaluate the end result?

On the other hand, we have found that some of the most profitable financial public relations companies do the worst job for their clients. They are so interested in self-aggrandizement that they shortchange the client. Often this is time by putting "wet behind the ears" junior assistants on the job while the boss does hypes his own firm in the press.

The new kid on the block, knowing he needs help and seeing this public relations firm's name all over the place, says, "this must be the place to go" and gets little or nothing in exchange for his hard earned dollars.

Jon, we invite you to tell us how it should be done, right here on these pages. How do we know you are the one that can do the job in the most cost-effective manner? Why differentiates an hourly PR firm from a contract one. In neither case are they working for only one client so what is the difference? We are unaware of any distinction between the two phrases. Why can't the emerging company use its stock to pay the PR firm? After all, I would think that the PR firm should not take clients that they don't believe in. If they take stock they receive not only their fee, but when their client, with the PR company's help becomes public, the fee is capitalized and become a multiple of what they otherwise would have gotten. On the other hand, is taking stock in your client ethical? If it is and you have stock, should you make a disclosure? Overall, Is this a bad thing or a good thing?

I for one feel that taking part of the fee in stock shows that the Public Relations Company believes what it is preaching about. How can the rest of us believe in your client if you do not?

Financial Public Relations has become far more than the occasional story in a magazine or newspaper. It is about introductions. Introductions to financing, introductions to strategic partnerships and introductions to those that can help in marketing.

The Public Relations people that really seem to have a handle on what to do next have backgrounds in business or an MBA degree. They have been around for awhile and have important relationships that can be called on to help their clients. They know the "Street" (Wall Street, LaSalle Street etc) and when the broker needs financing, they know where to take him.

You are right about the price, but a lot gets done by the right people that take their work seriously. We and others are looking for talent, make your case well on these pages and you will be rewarded.

Robert Spira Chapman Spira and Carson LLC

Last changed: March 17, 2000