There’s a growing disgust in the PR community about the broken RFP process in which potential clients demand elaborate presentations from candidates without any plan to eventually hire them. It’s nothing less than highway robbery.

Drawn-out pitches are designed to rip off the intellectual property of PR firms without any thought of compensation. It’s not fair.

Savvy PR leaders, such as Havas PR CEO Marian Salzman, have publicly objected to the “beauty pageants,” putting down a marker for potential clients.

rfpSalzman is tired of wasting a client’s time and Havas’ money in “romancing” new business. Confident of Havas’ ability to deliver the goods, the firm offers one month free—up to $35K—on a four-month trial media relations project. That’s putting your money where your mouth is.

Getting Paid for What PR is Worth

The Baltimore Sun today has a must-read piece today about clients milking PR firms for ideas without paying for the goods.

It features the University of Maryland’s shafting the Atlantic Coast Conference after 60 years and shifting to the Big Ten for a pot load of cash.

Fans of the Terrapins are angry over dropping traditional rivalries against Duke, North Carolina and Virginia as school leadership opted to go with the potential $100M Big Ten windfall.

The school conducted a secretive PR campaign to soothe the uproar by lobbying media pundits and planting positive comments into fan message boards.

And where did the geniuses of Maryland get the inspiration for the campaign.

Nathan Pine, deputy athletic director, explained: “We sought advice from many public relations professionals and received a number of suggestions. The Athletic Department did not engage in anything of that nature.”

New York counselor Lee Zeidman did draft letters and develop talking points for Maryland but received compensation “nowhere near the usual,” according to the Sun.

PR people have long complained the public relations does not get the respect that it deserves.

That will come only when clients pay PR for fair value for what they receive.

Walking away from the broken RFP process is a good way to begin the process.