Like any other type of relationship, the foundation of a successful client-PR consultancy relationship is based on trust, transparency and commitment. Having a healthy working relationship with your PR firm, will not only help your company achieve its goals, but it will allow you to get the most value out of your symbiotic partnership.
A successful relationship can help your brand build its public profile, achieve its business targets, make good previous communication challenges and also amplify a brand’s potential capabilities.
So, when embarking on a new relationship with your PR firm, here are some tips for making it work.
- Set realistic expectations
To have a healthy client-PR firm relationship, both sides must acknowledge that they have a responsibility in managing expectations. While clients need to clearly express measurable goals by taking into account their budget spend, PR firms have to be honest about their ability to meet expectations.
Nonetheless, it is important that your goals are not just measurable; they also need to be precise, achievable, and time-based. Saying that you want to ‘increase your awareness’ is a good starting point, but not precise enough since it will be too hard to agree on what qualifies as ‘success’. By establishing targets together from the start, you will then both have a better understanding of what success will look like and it will ensure that you get the best ROI.
Both clients and PR firms are responsible for managing and setting realistic expectations. Agreeing on the KPIs together ensures both parties have a better understanding of what success looks like and how to work back to a tactical plan that is a knockout.
- Clear understanding of business goals
Having a clear understanding of the business’s goals and strategy helps your PR firm decide where they can best support you in achieving this outcome – whether it’s increasing brand awareness, launch of a new product, service and program or even moulding thought-leadership.
A key component to this is identifying and understanding your target audience. Your PR firm should be able to help you look beyond the demographics of the audience to look beyond your ideal customers’ needs, hopes, trials and tribulations – from which you can hone your brand’s messages in a way that will make sense to the customer.
- Consistent two-way communication
What is needed from both parties is a consistent two-way communication and a high level of involvement. From the PR firm’s perspective, this may mean quick access to your key spokesperson for media opportunities, being open to new story angles/ideas and timely turn-around in sign-offs on communication materials.
Feedback is also essential from both sides. If you think your PR partner is not meeting your expectations, let them know, so they can make any necessary adjustments their approach. If they’re not open to listening and adjusting if appropriate, the relationship is already on a shaky footing!
The simple act of highlighting what both parties need helps open up a frank conversation, from which, mutual understanding builds empathy and trust.
- Build trust
You could say that trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship; and it’s no different with your PR relationship. A good PR partner considers themselves as an extension of your internal team, providing expertise in media advice and ongoing counsel. They trust you to keep them informed, and to accurately share the company’s vision. You need to trust that their objectives are to deliver the best possible outcomes from your PR program.
If you give your PR firm opportunities to be proactive and also bring another valuable point of view to your business, then try involving your PR team in business strategic planning whenever possible. They are also attuned to search and clinch new publicity opportunities. For, remember, many “big ideas” have been as a result of the firm’s better understanding the business strategy. The closer the ties, the better their advice will be.
After all, a client-PR firm relationship is based on achieving a common goal. And at every step you inch closer, take the time out to appreciate each other! It will clinch a perfect bonding , that will go a long way to usher in success.