How will a new startup affect the RFP process in PR?

AirPR is billed as the of public relations, and the author hopes it disrupts what she calls the archaic model of matching PR firms with clients.

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But one aspect of the business that remains outdated, and that impacts everything else about the client-agency relationship, is the agency search process. It’s directly related to PR’s poor reputation in my view. Which is why, when I first read about AirPR, a new company that’s been described as a “” for startups needing PR, I was intrigued.

Armed with $1 million in seed funding from big-name venture capitalists and angel investors, AirPR aims to prevent new businesses from spending up to $40,000 with large PR firms that push the work down to juniors by pairing them with qualified consultants or boutique firms who charge much gentler fees.

Now I don’t know many startups that begin with a PR firm at $40,000 a month, but AirPR is right about one thing: The client-agency matching methodology is broken. The best thing you can say about the request for proposal (RFP) process is that it’s a frustrating, archaic, time suck for both parties. Agencies complain bitterly about the creative commitment, staff expense, and hidden (and not-so-hidden) biases in the process, while clients often don’t get what they need. Expensive search consultants or intern-led Web searches aren’t much better.

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