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Creating the right client-agency relationship


Any PR firm worth its salt will have a clear idea of the relationship it wants to have with its clients.

While some will inevitably be more high maintenance than others, a global brand will probably want more face time than a regional charity for example, the key is managing expectations and backing this up with fantastic work.

A lot is made of chemistry and how it plays a fundamental role in good relationships. However, clients and agency representatives do not need to get along to achieve their objectives.

Research by the Public Relations Consultants Association (PCRA) has found only 19 per cent of clients think personal chemistry is a key ingredient to a successful partnership, compared with 51 per cent of agencies.

While 16 per cent of agencies view regular communication as vital, only six per cent of clients agree with this. This demonstrates how there are conflicting views on what the perfect dynamic represents.

According to PR Week, these findings point out that "agencies think they are having a relationship, while clients think they are having a transaction".

Carey Evans, founder of Relationship Audits, added: "Clients don't have time for never-ending PowerPoint presentations. What they want to hear most is how agencies can leverage their learning and insights from other clients - and they want it brief and to the point."

Of course, at the heart of this issue is the need for PR agencies to show value for money in their activities. And this is where striking the right balance in the client-agency relationship is so important.

Clients do not necessarily want to be presented with reports on every aspect of a campaign, as this can lead to an information overload. Instead, concise updates should suffice and more time should be placed in building trust - the key to any good relationship.

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