Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Daniel Hajden, Senior Adviser, DIALOG komunikacije
In this day and age when we have any information available with just one click of the mouse, we often witness how companies, literally overnight, change their PR agencies and seek for a better, often cheaper service somewhere else. Whether the reasons are justified or not, it is in no one’s interest to spend valuable time on tendering and the search for a new PR partner because the process itself can last for several months. Agencies will thereby spend hours, days and weeks to devise the best communications strategy for the potential client. As in everything else, so in the client-agency relationship, there is no magic formula for success, but there are a number of steps that will result in successful cooperation.
Trust is the key to everything and it is the foundation of a quality and long-term client-agency relationship. If trust is absent or eventually deteriorated, it will be reflected on the work done, which is not in the interest of the client, and therefore not in the interest of the agency.
In public relations we often hear the term “teamwork”, and this time I would put it in the context of the client and the agency. The client is the one who has the final say in everything, but the task of any agency is to point them to the possible failures of a specific campaign, and timely focus them to “the right path”. At the end of the day, both sides have the same goal. Agencies may not have all the information regarding the internal procedures of their clients, but for that very reason they can see things from a different angle, and this is their comparative advantage, which must be utilized.
We can often hear how agencies agree to unrealistic expectations of their clients, all in order to retain or obtain business. This is not profitable in the long-run. Honesty is valued, and it is also one of the postulates of a quality business relationship. Never promise what you can’t deliver, because it will backfire. Our colleagues from the Ketchum global network often point out: “Under-promise, but over-deliver.” Honest communication will open all the doors, and the client will gain confidence in you that you so much desire.
Being one step ahead of the client is a step toward success. Listening, research, information and proposing ideas are just some of the ways you can contribute to your client’s business. Often the proposed ideas will be rejected, either because of a difference of opinion, or because of the limited budget, but the enthusiasm and hard work will always pay off in the end, and the client will understand that on the agency side they no longer have a mere executor, but an equal partner in business.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to show how much time and effort was invested in a project, and it’s almost impossible to express it all in detail through figures. It is therefore important that the client is at all times familiar with every aspect of your engagement, and that they know what you spend your precious time on. For this purpose, there are semi-annual and annual evaluations. But it’s often enough to inform the client in advance that a certain activity will take more time than you planned. The result will certainly not be absent, and the extra points you get for it at the client side are another indicator that your relationship is going in the right direction and that you can hope for long-term collaboration.