Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Guest Blog/Letter to the Editor: Good Karma and Catch-22s in Tech PR...

Posted by Candida Kutz - December 27, 2004

Mark Coker, President of Dovetail Public Relations, tells SiliconValleyWatcher.com readers...

...I'd like to share a personal story about my agency that describes a dilemma I think many good tech PR agencies face...
Today, Cisco announced that they're acquiring our security client, Protego Networks. Last Thursday, Microsoft announced that they're acquiring our anti-spyware client, Giant Company Software.

We signed on Giant in September. They chose us because they liked the work we did for our long-time client PestPatrol, the anti-spyware pioneer, which was acquired in August by Computer Associates. Giant correctly assumed that CA would dump PestPatrol's agency, so they could scoop up our agency's expertise and contacts to raise visibility for their own firm in what has become a very crowded market.

So all this has me thinking about a catch-22 curse that many tech agencies face: As PR practioners, our work directly (and often significantly) impacts a client's visibility, awareness, perceptions and revenues, thereby often increasing the value of their business. Unfortunately, we sometimes become the captains of our own demise when we achieve our objectives, because we can end up accelerating or enabling liquidity events for our clients. And if you're on the wrong end of the acquisition, you lose the client.

It's certainly bittersweet for us. We love to make great things happen for our clients. But we also want to keep them long term. My personal view is that this business isn't really about the companies we represent, it's about people we represent. If we serve our people well, the good karma will return with more new business down the line as these people circulate back into the tech ecosystem.


postscript:

Although we've had two security clients taken out in the last week,
we're on track to replace the business fairly quickly. We're fielding three new business inquiries, two of which are security companies and all of which derive from previous clients going back as far as 10 years ago. Patience pays off in the karma PR game.

Links:

Dovetail Public Relations

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