4 tips for pushing back against a client’s request

Has a client ever proposed a poorly conceived campaign or asked you to request an unnecessary correction? Here’s a primer to saying no—or at least meeting half way.

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Having the “push back” conversation with your client or senior management team is never a pleasant situation.

Depending on your position and experience in the PR industry, it can be difficult to go toe-to-toe over a contentious issue, especially one that could result in an ugly headline. Long-held beliefs combined with low understanding of the power of the media can make your job difficult when the need to push back arises.

Just ask Beyoncé’s publicist. Her request to BuzzFeed to remove “unflattering photos” of the singer’s Super Bowl performance was likely not her idea. Imagine trying to tell the pop superstar and Jay-Z, “Uh, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

One can only imagine the withering glare.

The result was the glaring headline, “The pictures Beyoncé’s publicist doesn’t want you to see!”

Clearly, this is a worst-case scenario for any PR pro. In spite of our best efforts, sometimes we let our clients dictate recourse that defies best practices.

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