Working in the communications industry for some 20 years now, I have come to believe that my inquisitive nature has been an integral factor in helping me to better understand the business of my clients. As Public Relations specialists, there are basic rules we need to be familiar with if we are going to succeed on behalf of the people we work for. One of these is being prepared to dive deep into their business to learn about its many diverse components. After all, we need to live up to our reputation of being “Jacks of all trades”!
I believe what sets one agency apart from another is the depth it is willing to immerse itself into the client’s business, find insight and then utilise this knowledge to help optimise their communications plans. It’s not only strategic planners who should be involved in this process, but account handlers as well. In fact, I would throw in the entire team who works on the brand, as every agency employee should be aware of what makes their clients tick. An induction workshop on a client’s business, industry, operation and strategic direction is way beyond customary quantitative and qualitative research, but is a vital initiative that provides direction. It is a mandatory undertaking in my book. You would be amazed to see how much more insight lies ‘inside’ your client’s operation, its people and its modus operandi!
This is a joint responsibility shared by agency and client, with the latter being in a clear position to demand that this should be standard practice. How otherwise can they leverage their communications efforts in order to realise their business goals? The agency has to go way beyond the brief and dig into the business of their clients!
So if you have been commissioned to churn out a Public Relations campaign for one of your clients recently and you want to succeed, ask yourself this fundamental question,
“How well do I know my client’s business?”