Relationships in PR
Working at Active PR I have come across a number of different clients some easy to handle and others, well, not so much. It is a rule of thumb with everyone in the A-Team that no matter what – we always try and look at the positive in any and every situation – so when I have to deal with a client that can be a little ‘tricky’ to handle I ensure that I have the below 3 points in order –
Right from the outset – as soon as I am given a client to handle I do my research. I learn as much about the client that I can. The reason for this is simple – I am their Public Relations Consultant – how can I consult them if I do not know what they do. So I become like a sponge – I absorb as much about them as I can, I research, read through recent articles, get up to speed on pending activations, launches, goals, past successes and failures in addition to learning the basics, such as preferred reporting structure and fundamental tools.
I know that a lot of PR professionals are probably reading this and saying – ‘yea, easier said than done.’ That is why it is important to keep in mind that education is a two way street. The client I am dealing with needs to be able, willing and completely forthcoming with the information that we need as their PR Agency in order for us to guarantee success. We need to open a transparent dialogue where we can sit together as a team and sift through all the required information as well as get any questions we may have answered. The easiest way to do this is to make sure we set and keep regular meetings so communication remains continuous.
Communication, communication, communication!!! In order to ensure that our Client is able to gain as much from us it is important that we portray to them the importance of designating the correct person from their side, someone who will be able to provide the Agency with the information they require.
The regular contact needs to be someone who:
Can convey information and answer questions the Agency requires
- Can work closely with the Agency and ensure correct key messaging is being conveyed
Has the power to make important, last minute decisions
At the same time – we ensure that the team working on this particular client has the correct background and work ethics, a team that will ask the right questions to the right person at the right time.
Without these people in place, Client and Agency constantly find themselves in a stalled position, waiting for the contact to ask the right person or check in on what’s happening, resulting, in a lot of cases, in key opportunities being missed!
For good PR continuity is golden. As consultants we are constantly telling our clients that in order for us to attain maximum exposure we need them to help us get there. We need them to communicate their business strategies, objectives and goals with us in order for us to tell them what the best way to go about achieving them is. As long as there is an open communication stream between us and our clients we can always ensure that that we are aiding our Client’s in portraying the correct messages to their key audiences.
At the end of the day, it is simple, in order to sustain and maintain a Client/Agency relationship, like any other kind of relationship, it requires communication and a willingness to work at it. Open, transparent dialogue limits the amount of possible misunderstandings, clearing the way for concise and precise brand messaging.