Successful PR programs are built on a healthy, productive relationship between the client and the PR agency. Savvy partners take the time to assess the quality of their relationships and have frank discussions about them. When something goes off track and there is no communication about it, the seeds of a separation between client and PR firm are planted. The search for a new PR firm often begins here.
We have studied our longest lasting relationships over the years to identify the top contributing factors to a healthy relationship, leading to successful, high performing PR programs:
Both client and PR agency must understand each other’s needs and expectations. There must be a common view of the program goals, scope, and strategy. This common view extends beyond the core PR and marketing teams that are working together day-to-day, and must account for the needs and goals of other stakeholders, like the sales team, the CEO, or even investors.
PR agency teams are most empowered when they have the same access as employees to learning, to subject matter experts, and to strategic planning within the client organization. This could include participation in company all-hands meetings, occasional briefings with product and engineering teams, and including an agency team member in the earliest stages of launch planning.
It’s highly unlikely that any PR program could be effective for the long run by simply turning the agency loose and asking it to report back on results. A successful partnership depends on continuous exchange of ideas, strategic recommendations, and feedback.
Establishing a cadence of planning, execution, and communication is key. It might mean weekly check-ins, monthly decisions about upcoming opportunities, quarterly reporting and strategic reviews, and annual strategic planning. The rhythm provides a reliable beat against which the joint client-agency symphony can perform.
Everyone is a professional and brings a unique set of perspective and experiences to the table. Passions are not uncommon – and in fact should be apparent at times – in a healthy relationship. A client of our PR firm said it best: “Be hard on ideas, soft on people.” Respect also applies to agreed-upon budgets and requests for peoples’ time.
Understanding these factors and occasionally assessing them – such as in a quarterly strategic review – leads to dialogue and a long term, productive partnership that starts off strong and produces ever more impressive PR results as time goes on.
If you would like to discuss a potential partnership with RH Strategic, please feel free to contact us.
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RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare