Why do we find it so hard to say no??

I’m writing this post not much more than an hour after getting home from where I spent the afternoon trying to sell-in a non-story. A non-story into trade press with very tenuous connections (I should probably take this moment to point out that this is my second day and I’m only at this agency for a week – holiday cover, so not much I could do about it but suck it up) and when I asked why we were pushing this non-story into trade sectors where it wasn’t relevant I was given the common response “the client wants it”.

Why do we find it so hard to say no to clients? Why do we find it so hard to advise our clients about the best approach, and what the press sees as a story and what they don’t? I’m reminded of my favourite “just say no” PR disaster last year when British Gas had a live Twitter Q&A the day after increasing their energy bills by 10% (http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/17/british-gas-backlash-price-hike-energy-bills ). There is no way any talented PR guy could have thought the timing was a good idea. So why didn’t they tell the CEO or whoever how bad an idea it is? And why does ‘the client want it’ mean we have to ignore everything we have learnt and know about news and PR?

As an aside, today was the first time in about five years since I last did a mass sell-in and I have to say how nice and patient all the journalists were in taking my call. Even when we both knew they would not be interested in the story.

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