1. Ask for examples of successful campaign tactics
2. Request to see examples of print and media coverage for other beauty and medical clients
3. Assess their knowledge of the spa or medi-spa industry
4. Get a reasonable estimate of frequency of media coverage they've achieved for clients
5. Know the markets that will be pursued and make sure they are appropriate for your target audience
6. Ask for samples of press releases they have written for other clients
7. Get references — and check them thoroughly!
8. Know the account executive to client ratio and how much time will be devoted to your account within a given week or month
9. Learn what other companies the firm handles. You do not want to be a small fish in a big pond. If the firm is representing a huge cosmetic conglomerate, you can be sure that your retainer fee is a fraction of the mega client's. If would be safe to assume that your account would not receive the same level of attention or you might be farmed out to the pr firm's most junior account executive.
10. Ask if there are any additional expenses such as monthly disbursements
11. The PR firm should provide client with weekly written progress reports
12. Prior to engaging a company, ask for a written proposal that will outline a campaign strategy and explain company client policy.
13. Ask if there exists any conflict of interest. If a firm is representing your direct competition down the street, it would not be wise to proceed with this firm. Conversely, if you are in New York and the firm has a spa in Florida, this will not affect you at all.
14. Make sure you get a good vibe from the people with whom you are meeting. If you get the sense that they feel they are doing you a favor by representing you, or any similar attitude, move on. Remember, you will be the client and you want a firm that will cater to your needs and be enthusiastic about having you on their client roster.
Katherine M. Rothman
(212) 213 - 6444
Katherine M. Rothman is the President and CEO of KMR Communications, Inc a Manhattan public relations firm specializing in beauty and medical clientele. The firm's clients include leading spas, salons, skin care companies and plastic surgeons and dermatologists nationwide in addition to other sub-specialties of medicine. The firm's clients regularly appear in Vogue, Elle, Allure, and many other prestigious publications as well as national television programs. Ms. Rothman has addressed the topic of spas and public relations in both trade and consumer media.