Clients make many demands on their PR agencies—they are paying customers, after all. But they have their responsibilities as well to make the deals they strike with agencies work. For clients and PR agencies to work together effectively, it’s essential to adhere to a few guiding principles that will set a strong foundation, according to Karen Clyne, SVP, client services, for agency Eastwick.
Clyne lists five essentials PR agencies need from clients to build a true partnership that results in PR successes for the client—and good PR for the agency itself.
1. Access. Access to information, people, channels, partners, lines of business, product and service information, competitive intelligence. This level of sharing and availability is required in order to gain a full understanding of the client’s business. Clients need to provide this access to ensure the team has every opportunity to absorb the details of a product or initiative and formulate the best strategy.
2. Trusted partnership. The PR pro is an extension of the client team and is an expert. The agency partner has experienced successes and lessons learned along the way; this is all to be leveraged. Trust the expertise and let it work for your business.
3. Integration. Integration with the client team, as well as an integrated approach to communications, will always gain the visibility (and results) demanded of the partnership and program. Set clear expectations on scope and responsibility and allow the agency what it needs to succeed.
4. Real-time feedback. As with all aspects of the client-agency dynamic, expectation setting and feedback is a key aspect of success. Receiving candid commentary builds trust, allows for the opportunity to course correct where needed and establishes strong guidelines. Not only will this strengthen the program work ahead, it keeps both sides accountable.
5. Celebrations. The collaboration and partnership between a PR agency and client is worth celebrating, at every step. Along with the love of the craft comes a deep commitment to each other and the business, and its fair share of stress. When agencies and clients win together, applaud the effort and gear up for the next big thing.
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