PR can be a loaded label. What is PR? By definition, it’s the “professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization; the state of the relationship between the public and a company.” But what does that mean?
At the center of PR’s true definition is the word “relationship,” and relationships, as we all know, are not always an exact science. They require work on several different levels to perfect and maintain in order to reach your ultimate goals.
With a focus on relationships, here are five ways No Limit Agency, a Chicago-based communications agency, excels in the PR world:
No Limit sells people, not brands. Nearly every PR firm focuses on the brand. That’s fine, but can it really generate powerful, motivating content in a content-driven world? Probably not. When a story revolves around a groundbreaking new French fry or ice cream flavor, it isn’t news and it doesn’t connect.
“People sell brands. People write checks. People are the key to the success of generating great stories,” said Nick Powills, No Limit Agency founder and CEO.
The focus on the people who make up your brand is at the heart of how No Limit approaches PR.
No Limit connects the silos of communication. Powills explains, “Most brands segment their budgets into marketing, PR, digital, advertising, social, etc. Sure, that sounds great and would be nice if all the pieces fit neatly into their own little box — but the reality is that they shouldn’t.”
Ideally all the elements of communication should be combined into one silo. This is a pipe dream for now, though. It will take time before agencies push the threshold of communications silos.
In an ideal situation though, if you buy an ad in Fast Company, that ad should have a corresponding PR message, a social message, a unique/trackable URL, and should focus on people. This is how you win in a world where people can be connected in five or six different ways all at one time. No Limit Agency has taken pride in being able to connect the silos by hiring professionals with expertise in each of the silos and putting them together in the same room to ensure that the strategy behind each of the pieces fits together in the same puzzle.
No Limit is a strategic partner, not a cookie cutter vendor. “Vendors supply something, partner’s have each others’ backs; it’s that simple and I prefer to always have my clients’ backs,” said Powills.
Not only does No Limit approach its PR relationships with a focus on people, but the agency focuses on client relationships in the same way. Your account team will come visit you at your office, get to know you and your team, visit some of your franchise locations and see how the business operates first-hand. Sean Fitzgerald, No Limit’s Chief Development Strategist was impressed by the agency’s strategic know-how long before he joined the team. Fitzgerald spent the bulk of his career working in franchise development and was a No Limit client during his tenure with Wireless Zone.
“I was always impressed by their [No Limit] ability to put a strategy in place that created awareness in the specific markets,” Fitzgerald said. “The results from the articles they were able to secure in targeted areas were key to the explosive growth we experienced as a brand, and now years later as a member of the team I take pride in being to help produce those same type of results for our clients.”
No Limit media relations specialists’ pick up the phone. Fitzgerald explains that No Limit truly understands the goal of PR.
“It’s not about writing press releases and randomly securing press based on who is willing to pick up the news,” he said. “It’s about creating and maintaining consistent buzz, which is crucial to growing a franchise.”
Old school is new school, especially in sales and marketing.
“Unfortunately, we, as people, have been trained to take the easy way out,” said Powills.
Members of the media are inundated with email and to put it bluntly, they don’t have time nor do they care to read your press release. By hand pitching the media over the phone, No Limit media relations specialists are able to deliver the punch line immediately and make a connection with the reporter. The phone is an essential tool to achieving meaningful and consistent results. It is one place where tone cannot get lost in translation and questions can be answered instantaneously.
No Limit’s account team takes the time to become an expert on your brand. Powills insisted, “If you care, you will become an expert. By becoming an expert, you can hunt for the right stories that will be influential to a brand.”
No Limit will talk with all the members of your executive team, and will personally interview your franchisees. Buffalo Wings & Rings Chief Development Officer and long-time No Limit client Philip Schram believes his brand’s partnership with the agency sparked a major turning point.
“Nick, Sean and the rest of their team are extremely savvy in their understanding of the franchise industry, more so than anyone else we’ve ever worked with,” said Schram.
He went on to say that in addition to a deep understanding of client needs and an all-star staff, the biggest selling point for No Limit Agency is the level of accountability.
“No Limit’s team takes full responsibility for their work and they are able to deliver results that speak for themselves through numbers of leads and impressions. I never hear excuses. I am kept abreast of progress and if there’s something that’s not going as planned, the team is proactive in coming to me with suggested solutions,” Schram continued.
Yes, the agency wants your brand standards. But the team will also ask questions about background stories, family, history, vision plans and inspiration. They will learn everything there is to learn about your brand and the people it’s made up of so that each story can be told from the perfect angle, every time.