Are Bloggers Building Relationships With Brands…or PR Firms?

by Kelly on December 5, 2012

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One year during fashion week, a blogger acquaintance of mine built a relationship with a major brand through their public relations team, and scored an invite to the brand’s fashion show. In the hopes of furthering the relationship with the brand, she kept in contact with their PR, but by the time the next fashion week rolled around, the brand’s PR team no longer had a relationship with her or her blog. So, what happened?

When working with a brand, chances are your contact is going to be someone in public relations. But building a relationship with a brand through their PR team can be short-lived if the brand outsources their PR to a public relations firm. Here’s why:

Lots of brands outsource their public relations, social media, or marketing to firms that specialize in these areas. The employees of these firms are not brand employees. They have been hired to come up with, and implement strategy that the brand may not be able to do in-house.

If the brand doesn’t feel the PR firm is representing them well, is too expensive, gets sweet talked by another firm into using them instead…just to name a few…the PR firm’s contract will not get renewed, and the brand moves on to a new firm.

So, if you’re working with the PR team for a brand, no one at the actual brand may even know who you are, since you’re working with the PR firm, and not the brand directly. Thus, if the brand switches PR firms, your relationship with the brand goes out the same window as the old PR firm.

This is precisely what happened to my blogger acquaintance. The brand she had built a relationship with changed PR firms, and her relationship went with them.

So, if brands want to build lasting relationships with bloggers, should they really be outsourcing that to PR?

On the flip side, building relationships with PR firms isn’t all that bad. If a firm has a portfolio of fashion brands under their management, they often leverage their good blogger contacts for opportunities within the rest of their client list.

Not sure how to tell if your PR contact is working for the brand or for a PR firm?

  • Check the footer of your contact’s emails. Are there links to the brand’s website and social media accounts? Or are there links to a PR company website?
  • Check the email address for your contact. Is it “contacts.name@brand.com” or “contacts.name@PRfirm.com”?

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