When PR Clients Ask for the Impossible


The most common question from potential clients when Oprah’s show was popular on commercial television.

The most difficult clients are those with unrealistic expectations. Whenever we engage a new client, we talk about managing expectations. If they have done PR before, were they disappointed with the results or were they happy? If they were disappointed, was this because the expectations were too high about what could be delivered or was it because the agency failed to deliver on its promises?

Remember, in public relations there are no guarantees, except those that once the objectives are decided, the agency will do everything in its power to achieve by working hard.

“Can you get me on Oprah?”

When Oprah had a hugely popular TV show on commercial television, everyone in PR reading this had a perspective client ask this question.

To the prospect, the product, service or nonprofit he or she was selling was just what Oprah was supposedly waiting to see. We coined a term to call this phenomenon “oprahlusion,” or delusional thinking that a toy, DVD, food item or “insert new product here” is worthy of Oprah’s attention.

A client must have a newsworthy product or service in order to generate news. 

TGPR Partner Susan Tellem and other PR pros were asked to provide feedback on the expectations in PR. Read more on the topic at PR Crossings.

-Dan Grody, TGPR