Being in the Public Relations field is a lot like being into commercial property management. You may have several different properties and all of them have to be managed differently than the others. The same goes for the clients that a PR firm decides to represent; but just like a property manager, there should be some definite understanding of what they are getting into when they sign on the dotted line.
A lot of people seem to think that when a PR firm deals with a client, whether it be a business or an individual, that it’s only the group that can have their reputation harmed. However, in reality, the PR firm is also at risk of garnering a bad reputation if they do not handle their client right. The problem is a matter of perception. There are times when a client will make a mistake and the public, as well as those on the inside, know that there was nothing that could be done to prevent that PR gaffe. However, there are other times when there is a perception that a PR firm failed to do their job in either preventing or repairing the problem.
The issue then comes back to client control. If there is a client seeking representation, the firm has to ask themselves if that client will ultimately help or hurt business. This does not mean sacrificing a potential client just because they have a history of trouble. As a matter of fact, that could work in their benefit if the group is serious about rebounding and getting back on track. Their reputation has nowhere to go but up and a good PR firm will be able to take the credit for that, as long as they make sure that progress is possible before they proceed.