How to Be a Great -- Not Just Good -- Agency Client
The Council of PR Firms' newsletter, "The Firm Voice," includes an excellent article this week from Ron Culp that draws on his many years as a corporate PR person employing agencies and what he's learned over the past eight years on the agency side.
"During my 30 years in various corporate PR roles, I had always thought I was a pretty good client. If I knew then what I know now – after eight years on the agency side – I could have been a great client."
Culp goes beyond his own experiences and polls some other PR pros on both sides of the desk and has put together some excellent insights about what makes a truly great client and agency/client relationship.
I encourage you to read the entire article, but some of the takeaways I liked in particular included:
- The key element for success is a true partnership between agency and client team
- Mutual respect is absolutely critical
- Provide clear direction up front to the agency about goals and expectations
- Clients who recognize that "time to think" should be built into the agency budget, and is a valuable use of time for brainstorming and idea generation that will be rewarded with great work.
- Be realistic in your expectations
- Listen and truly consider the ideas and recommendations
- Bring the agency in early enough to be effective and successful
Having just passed a 25-year milestone, I have a number of "hall of fame" clients whom we've worked with, and these characteristics absolutely define why they were not just good clients, but great clients. It was very refreshing to read the comments and insights from the corporate PR people in this article. It's very clear that they are also hall of fame clients.