The client that becomes a team member...￼
By: Catalina Jiménez - Director & Founder, Sentidos Comunicaciones
Article published in Forbes
A healthy and happy marriage between agencies and companies is what the work between a brand and its suppliers is all about.
When a client tells us in the middle of a meeting, what do they need from me? How can I help them? what we really hear as public relations and as an agency is: “I trust your work, so I focus on my part”, this is music for our work.
In the more than 20 years that I have been working in the industry, I have been able to confirm that the most important thing in the path of a good public relations strategy is teamwork between brands and agencies. And, how is this union achieved? It requires different characteristics within the two organizations. A healthy and happy marriage between agencies and companies is what teamwork between the brand and its suppliers is all about.
Often in internal weekly review meetings, I hear my colleagues refer to their accounts (as we call each of the clients we advise) and the spokespersons who represent them, with expressions such as: “Surely he helps us”, “we are going to meet to find out precisely what they are thinking and thus develop a more useful brief”, “she is already giving us feedback on the document”, they reaffirm that as an agency we belong to larger teams and purposes, we are not just a supplier. So when they leave us, we become an extension of the brand we represent and this is precisely the purpose of our work with Public relations.
We have the task as consultants to support, to be able to interpret, to recognize what are the objectives of: sales, marketing and communications of the company; in order to be able to advise in the best way and adjust our proposals and strategies to the mission and purpose of each organization. A public relations strategy is useless if we do not listen to the brand, in order to interpret its needs and be effective and efficient with what we propose and execute.
A few days ago in a call with a client, his spokesperson, who is always willing to collaborate, told us that when he was very busy with work, it would be Roberta (whose name we changed so as not to fill her with flattery), the person who in his place would respond to the requirements we make from him, at this precise moment I could see how the faces of my entire team lit up with happiness for working with her, a spokesperson always ready, informed, up-to-date and knowledgeable about the work carried out by the agency, characteristics that fill her with empathy and the best collaborative attitude.
I would like to take the liberty of listing the virtues that an agency should have to really be an allied consultant for your client: propose new ideas and the use of different tools; understand that although its client is the brand, its consumer is the journalist, so it attends both with equal care, it is genuine (the false feels), its team proposes, learns, investigates and with this generates credibility and trust in your customers and your consumers and most importantly; he is capable of freeing up tasks at all ends (for this he truly manages to be part of a company's team).
As part of this union of efforts, the client also has the responsibility of being able to clearly communicate their objectives to us, to help us understand the purpose of their brand, and to provide us with the necessary resources to comply with our management; sometimes these resources are only one hour a week to update what they are doing, but on other occasions we will require spaces in their agenda for relationships, to adapt the tone of a column or to resolve a journalist's doubt in record timing.
The agencies do not have a magic ball to know what is happening in the brands and they cannot do anything without the availability of the managers and spokespersons of the company. A brand that wins all the stars is surely committed to the strategy, gives the agency freedom to maneuver, respects times and opportunities, takes the time to explain and train, efficiently communicates its needs, and above all lets advice. Let us be Public Relations agencies that learn and generate credibility and trust and that we can always count on clients like Roberta who join us in the team with generosity, availability, and knowledge.