November 23, 2010
Earlier this month, LCWA marked its 25th anniversary. One reason for our longevity? We strive to create partnerships with our clients. When that happens, nearly every public relations program succeeds. An equal partnership that fosters mutual trust, respect and creativity produces the best work. Under this arrangement, there is an absence of fear and intimidation. The agency can freely make recommendations and even take some risks, which often produce better results.
How are such partnerships established? From the agency side, we must:
- Get immersed in and excited about the client’s business and products. Fully understand marketing messages, target audiences and the best communications methods to employ. Learn industry jargon and corporate idiosyncrasies.
- Keep agency top management involved and “on the account.”
- Inform the client of all activities – successes and failures, and be honest in evaluating results.
- Be proactive in bringing new ideas to the program.
- Act as good stewards of the client’s budget.
And clients? They must:
- Share information about marketing and other corporate goals, messages and target audiences.
- Involve the agency in communication planning.
- Invite the agency team to participate in sales meetings and attend industry trade shows.
- Provide ready access to top management and key staff.
- Have realistic expectations and set realistic deadlines.
- Treat agency people as part of the team.
Yes, these guidelines are pretty straightforward. Yet, following them will go a long way toward rewarding, successful relationships.