Global-scale food company needed a new PR firm


A US-based global-scale food company


A US-based global food company struggled with its PR firm, a large, internationally held company that repeatedly failed to meet expectations for strategic counsel, service and results.


Grayscale leveraged its deep expertise in PR consulting to deliver a detailed plan to conduct a national search and selection process, while advising the client every step of the way.


The food company retained a new, independently-owned international firm with superior capabilities in consumer and trade food communications, as well as issues management.


Grayscale’s strategic direction led to a successful partnership between the client and PR agency.


The assignment brought a number of challenges to overcome in order tto ensure a successful process: The need to guarantee a lack of conflicts of interest; certify a given candidate firm’s strong qualifications in the consumer and trade food category; work with multiple parties on the client side, including the core team as well as corporate procurement, which had no experience in retaining public relations agencies; as well as avoid speculative and embarrassing coverage in PR trade publications.

PR firms work in extremely competitive environments. Agencies customarily energetically and creatively “put their best feet forward,” which often blurs a firm’s bona fide capabilities. Grayscale recognized the need for deep discernment among PR firm candidates. At the same time, the client lacked experience in navigating the PR firm marketplace, and Grayscale appreciated the need to educate the client about the realities, both the upsides and pitfalls, of the agency selection process.


Grayscale founder John Seng applied his 35-plus years’ experience in PR firm ownership and employment to the development of an 11-part plan to conduct a thorough national search and selection process for a new firm that would provide a high-quality, long-term solution for the client. Grayscale completed the entire process within 12 weeks.

The project phases included discovery, goals development, request for proposal (RFP) preparation, initial canvassing of possible firms, individual briefing of each firm, ongoing agency liaison, organization of all calls and meetings and counsel on final winning agency review and selection.

All throughout, Grayscale kept the client and contending firms apprised of the process at each stage, via calls and on-site meetings. Even candidate firms that were not selected indicated their appreciation for how the process was handled, which reflected well on the food company client.