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July 06, 2011

PRSA: PR Pros Must Articulate Value of Client Branding Partnerships — Marketing Week Letter to the Editor

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) had a letter to the editor of Marketing Week published in its July 6, 2011, issue in response to a June 29 opinion piece by columnist Mark Ritson on marketers and public relations professionals leading clients astray with ill-advised branding partnerships.

Letters: Marketers Must Articulate the Value of Partnerships
Published: July 6, 2011

Mark Ritson makes some valid points about the illogical approach often taken by marketers and brands to align with every shiny object, summer blockbuster film or big ad spend that comes their way (MW last week).

He also brings to light a larger issue the need for communicators and marketers to clearly articulate the direct value that businesses will derive from these partnerships before handshakes are exchanged and contracts signed.

We can’t continue with the status quo, which sees Brand A get excited about an upcoming launch from Brand B and an ensuing multimillion-pound product or sponsorship tie-in built around what may or may not become all that valuable to either business.

A better approach is one that involves having clear metrics which the PR industry is working toward through the 2010 Barcelona Principles and the European Summit on PR Measurement as well as marketers properly considering their company’s goals, independent of pressure from PR or ad agencies eager to take a slice of the pie.

We can and should counsel clients to take advantage of brand partnerships when they make sense. But that recognition of value must come from the brand itself, not from an over-eager interest in seeing our agency’s name attached to a flashy product promotion.

Keith Trivitt
Associate Director of Public Relations
Public Relations Society of America
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