What these two instances show is that senior PR teams pitched and won the business and the actual account team didn’t have as much (or even sufficient) experience to deliver on the promises.
This isn’t solely a PR agency problem; we have had accountants and solicitors do the same to us – put the inexperienced junior on our account. It’s fair to say that we have moved accountant to a smaller firm where we are more important, after also employing an experienced freelancer, who was good and did the basics well but lacked the time to give us the value-add advice we craved.
So how can PR account teams become more experienced? One way is to focus on a tight niche, be that IT security or open source. Another is to ensure that all teams have access to senior PR consultants who actually work on the account – that can mean a daily steer, making some media calls or reviewing writing. Of course, the MD of a 50 plus agency can’t work on every account, but larger agencies also divide expertise by sector and that section leader can be involved.
The key issue here is involvement in the account by senior, experienced people – too often that involvement can be too little and too rushed.