Opinion: Leader - Lessons to be learnt from agency data

PR agencies should put as much store by cold calling potential clients and sending in unsolicited credentials packs as they do into client service and delivery. That is the depressing conclusion of The Survey Shop's report this week on the views of over 200 in-house PROs. Close to half say they take documents 'on spec' as the source of names on their pitch lists, with two fifths citing 'phone calls from agencies' for the same purpose.

But before less eager new-business chasers lose hope, they should spare a thought for the PRCA and the agency selection intermediaries. The trade body is named as playing a role in just 13 per cent of shortlist selections, while the selection firms are owned up to by a meagre 15 per cent of respondents.

Even allowing for a certain degree of reluctance to admit that expert external advice was sought in the procurement of expert external advice, these are shockingly low numbers. There is an awareness-raising challenge for the selection firms and the PRCA in this data, which they would do well to take note of.

Beckham scores own goal with media

Like the next instalment in a part-work for those brushing up on their PR skills, David Beckham this week delivered his latest media relations masterclass. In The Daily Telegraph, the England captain confessed to having deliberately fouled an opponent to trigger an early ban covering a winnable match once he knew he would be out of action through injury anyway.

Footballing pundits will discuss long and hard whether he was right to act in this way, whether it was sporting and what example it sets to young fans. But none of them can gainsay the stupidity of boasting about such behaviour, apparently with the intention of putting right critics who question his intelligence.

It has plainly had the opposite effect - and unless the crisis management tactics deployed over the coming days break with the tradition of inept media handling which Beckham has recently cultivated, it threatens longer-term damage than details of his private life.

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