One of the benefits of being part of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Capital Chapter is getting to know a wide range of PR and communication professionals.
Aside from my days as a TV reporter (another blog all together) — when I crossed over to PR I came to an agency. It’s what I know and what I love. Even though it is my passion and I’ve never worked for a government agency, a non-profit or an association, I’m a big believer that it is beneficial for all of us to step outside of our sandbox and play with the kids in the other box. You learn so much and improve yourself just by listening to someone else’s perspective. After all we’re all PR pros no matter what side of the fence we’re on.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned from talking to my fellow PR pros who are not at an agency:
1. Listen – An agency has a lot of resources and big ideas, but it is important to listen to what the client actually wants and needs. Work with the client to identify their priorities and come up with ideas and strategies that are in line with that vision.
2. Collaborate – This is especially important if the client has a communication staffer in place who will be working directly with the agency. It can’t be one sided, form a true relationship with the communication staff and work together to meet the goal and objectives of each project or campaign. Having the communication staff’s buy in and approval is key to keeping the client happy and continuing a long term relationship.
3. Research – Read up on a new or potential client. Know the issue. Know what is being said in the media. Know what you’re walking into. This ties back to listening and being proactive. It is critical to be educated on a client before you meet with them. You don’t want to walk in and propose a clever contest or fun campaign when the organization is in the midst of a crisis unbeknownst to you.
4. Option, options, options – It happens with every campaign…you have your favorite logo, tag line, messages, look, feel. However, sometimes our favorite is not the client’s favorite. Always offer options and take a client’s input and feedback into consideration. It’s important to NEVER make the client feel like you’re forcing them to go with what you want and not taking their ideas, wants and needs into consideration. Always empower the client! After all the project is for them and a client should always play a role in the development of a campaign or project. Sometimes it’s not about us. 🙂
These are just a few things I’ve learned from my non-agency peers. What are your thoughts on working with agency folks? If you work for an agency, what have you learned from clients?