Some of the most complicated and thoughtful decisions a PR agency head must make involve staffing a new or transitioning account.
There is truly an element of matchmaking involved to ensure the personalities mesh well and the relationship is productive. Sometimes, missteps occur and a strategic course correction is in order, but here are a few client/agency scenarios to ponder which may help mitigate mismatches.
The high-octane client
The first (and often best) instinct is to assign a very calm, unflappable account person to balance this type AAA hyper client. Someone to remain focused in crises and keep this wild card client off “the ledge.” But you don’t want an account person who is too quiet—don’t confuse calm with comatose.
The unsure, insecure client
This is tricky—you want to match this client with someone caring and nurturing and smart. I would think hard before assigning them an “opposites attract” type as that could be threatening and backfire. The account leader for this client should strike a perfect balance between assertive and nurturing.
The know-it-all client
Experience says it almost doesn’t matter the personality of this client’s agency contact—they just need to be supportive yet unafraid to suggest opinions and offer alternative views. No client, not even an egomaniac, wants someone who agrees with every word they say (do they?).
The threatened client
The match for this endangered client is someone with very good people-reading skills. This person must be chameleon-like in his or her ability to go this way and that depending on their client’s standing within the company on a given day. They must have good listening and reporting skills so those in charge at the agency can “read the tea leaves” and make adjustments.
What sage wisdom can you offer about successful client/agency relationships?
Marijane Funess is media relations director at Crenshaw Communications. A version of this story first appeared on Crenshaw Communications' PR Fish Bowl blog.