PR professionals have the opportunity to represent amazing businesses and organizations that develop innovative products, create initiatives that help communities, and provide services that improve people’s lives. What makes working with such amazing companies even better is when there is a simpatico relationship between the client and the agency.
If you’ve been in PR for a while, you know what I mean. In such a relationship, you work together well, respect each other’s opinions, and push each other to produce the best outcomes possible.
Of all of the traits that my clients have had over the years, I’ve narrowed it down to six that I feel are the most important and keep me loving what I do every day. Hopefully, these are traits you also experience as a PR professional:
1. The client is open to exploring initiatives that they’ve never done before.
2. The client trusts your expertise and respects your professional recommendations.
3. The client is on board with adjusting the campaign to keep the results aligned with the business objectives of the company.
4. The client pushes you to continually be innovative.
5. The client’s campaigns are intellectually stimulating.
6. They’re also intellectually demanding.
Just as public relations campaigns evolve, so do relationships with clients. Sometimes this change happens for both parties simultaneously. As a member of an agency, it’s important to realize that this can happen, and that it can affect the outcome of your PR campaign, sometimes greatly.
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The client/agency relationship doesn’t always have to be rainbows and unicorns, but it does have to be productive, respectful, and beneficial. If a deteriorating relationship no longer benefits either party or, worse, actually hurts the PR campaign, it’s probably time to cut ties.
Here are six instances where it’s OK to end your relationship with a client:
1. When a client it unwilling to shift the tactics of a campaign, even though results indicate that it should be done.
2. When a client’s expectations become unrealistic, and even after addressing the issue they still expect unattainable results.
3. The client is asking you to do something unethical.
4. The number of hours your team is consistently putting into the account has made it unprofitable for the firm, and the client is unwilling to reduce the workload, or increase the retainer.
5. There are multiple instances where the client is not providing the full story, or withholding information that is important for you to have in order to do your job effectively. To that point, if you discover the client is lying to you, it’s time to call it quits.
6. If you’re generally not being treated well. I’m a strong believer that there is no reason, none, to have to endure an abusive client.
In most successful and rewarding client/agency relationships, the client and the agency are working together to achieve the goals of the company. The combined minds should be better than the individual.
Jessica Sharp is principal at Maven Communications a results-driven PR, social media and issues management agency based in Philadelphia. A version of this story originally appeared on CommPRO.biz.