Lansons generates more press for itself than any other UK agency

Research shows that Lansons Communications generated more UK press coverage for itself than any other agency in 2010.

Welcoming press coverage: Tony Langham
Welcoming press coverage: Tony Langham

[Pic: Belinda Lawley]

The research by information provider Dow Jones covers newspapers, consumer magazines, professional titles such as PRWeek, newswires and online news channels. But the work has prompted mixed reactions over the value of such coverage for agencies, and questions about the validity of comment from PR consultants.

In the global rankings, Hill & Knowlton topped Dow Jones' list, having generated 259 mentions. In the UK, Lansons generated 44 mentions in professional titles, three in magazines, one on a newswire and one in a national newspaper.

Tony Langham, CEO of the agency, said: 'We have an involvement in arts and charities and carry out research so have received coverage for this.

'I think this is a good thing. The only problem is when it is at the expense of the client. When the news became about Alastair Campbell, he was no longer useful,' he added.

'The same is true of BP (during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill), when the news became about its PR agency rather than the company itself.'

Stefan Stern, Edelman's director of strategy and ex-columnist at the Financial Times, said: 'PR agencies with expertise and evidence can have something to talk about to the press. This challenges the PR industry to be worthy of being quoted as a source of ideas.

'PR professionals sometimes have better access to news than journalists.'

Phil Hall, chairman of PHA Media and ex-editor of The News of the World, suggested that PROs could act as a public shield for clients: 'A reason to interview PROs is for background when subjects do not want to face the cameras.

Max Clifford, myself and Mark Borkowski are often asked to do interviews on issues surrounding a particular story.'

He added: 'PROs should never seek publicity at the expense of their clients.'

But Tom Berry, director and head of consulting services, Bite Communications and former commissioning editor at the Financial Times, said: 'As a journalist, I would never have dreamt of interviewing a PR agency. I don't see how someone working for a PR agency can be deemed authoritative on every issue.'

HOW I SEE IT - PHIL HALL, CHAIRMAN, PHA MEDIA

The biggest factor in business today is communication - whether to a company's staff, their clients, or the media. PROs are a hot ticket for comment in crisis management. Journalists are usually on the attacking side so PROs are best placed to offer a more rounded view.

TOM BERRY, DIRECTOR AND HEAD OF CONSULTING SERVICES, BITE COMMUNICATIONS

PR agencies, by their very nature, should know what goes into a good story, should be good at their own PR and will have lucid and opinionated spokespeople willing to comment on a wide variety of stories. PR professionals are expert at commenting on PR trends.

7 - Occasions Blue Rubicon appeared in a national newspaper in 2010

7 - Occasions Grayling appeared in a national newspaper in 2010

6 - Occasions Brunswick appeared in a national newspaper in 2010

4 - Occasions Lewis PR appeared in a national newspaper in 2010

METHODOLOGY

- Dow Jones divided all the PR agencies in the UK into top-tier companies (income fees of US$50m or higher) and mid-tier companies (fees between $15m and $50m). The date range is calendar year 2010.

- In the top-tier Dow Jones looked for a mention of the company name in headline or lead paragraphs or the appearance of company codes.

- The search excluded general or routine news, stock related news and press releases.

- For mid-tier companies it used a mention of the company code anywhere in the article. It only measures Factiva licensed publications.

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