In PR, there’s no better feeling than signing a brand new client, particularly after the long, hard slog that we fondly refer to as the “competitive review.” (do they come any other way?) However, as we all know, getting the client is one thing. Delivering on your promises in order to build a lasting client-agency relationship is a wholly different challenge.
With this in mind, here are some tips to help PR pros hit the ground running with their new client.
During the courtship period, a comprehensive media audit is required so you can emphasize just why that potential client needs your help, etc. But, in terms of building a powerful machine for your account, an audit is really just the beginning. Creativity is great, but it can only grow out of a disciplined account management process.
Upon signing your client, the account “infrastructure” needs to be set up quickly. This usually means identifying top media and influencer targets; setting up RSS feeds and Google Alerts; developing or adapting messages and materials; and arranging weekly calls. This is all before you’ve even sent out a pitch. In PR, it’s all about being prepared, so having a tight process in place is common sense.
Decide Roles and Goals
At the outset of an agency search, potential clients are introduced to a full team. Once the client is won, roles and goals must be articulated. The day-to-day contact is generally determined in advance, but for any multi-faceted account, roles should be spelled out, preferably in writing. Deadlines and expectations are particularly important; for more junior team members, they must be very clear.
Do A Deep Dive
You’ve spent hours with your new client, reviewing decks and discussing big ideas. Does that mean you must know their brand inside and out? Not at all.
For PR folks to truly understand their client’s overarching vision, set aside 2-3 days for a brand immersion, in which you examine the company’s people, culture, internal goals and challenges, as these are all relevant to PR. The more you know, the better.
Arrange Face Time
Take advantage of your beginner’s status to ask open-ended questions and insist on face time with senior staff. The new agency briefing is often a good opportunity for internal team members to become aligned, and it sets the tone for all relationships moving forward.