After 30 years of handling corporate PR for firms like Sears and Sara Lee, Ron Culp reflects on what makes a great client in the client/pr agency relationship. Basically, it's the trust the client places in its hired counselors.
Ron quotes Dave Samson, General Manager, Public Affairs at Chevron, in his post on the blog of the Council of Public Relations Firms. "I've always believed that an agency is only as good as its client," Dave says. "If the agency is treated as a full partner, allowed to earn a reasonable return on their client’s business, is able to work on rewarding projects/issues, and is given access to the information and people they need to perform, then, I have found, they deliver great value and results. As you might guess, the opposite is also true."
The chances of having such cooperative relationships are increased, of course, by discussing expectations in interviewing prospective clients.
Ron provides some other contributed pointers on client/agency relationships and adds one of his own: "Don't waste the time and money of potential agency partners." Don't, for example, include six agencies in a pitch when two or three are sufficient.
It all comes down to having regard for professionalism, and valuing it when it's found. Clients and agencies, both, pay heed.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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