There’s a great scene in the movie Jerry Maguire. In it, Tom Cruise’s sports agent character has finally lost it with his one client (a football player brilliantly played by Cuba Gooding Jr.).
Frustrated by Gooding Jr.’s frosty relationship with the media, Cruise implores, “Help me to help you.” It’s a pivotal moment in the movie for both characters – and it’s one that should be used more in the PR industry.
Although it’s true of many industries, public relations is at a pivotal stage in its history.
New media sources and resources have changed the way PR is handled – and if it hasn’t made your agency change with it, then perhaps questions should be asked why.
So how can you help yourself to help your clients?
Use the Tools Effectively
We continuously hear how great social media is for PR. Yet are clients seeing why social media is so effective?
Try this experiment. The next time you have a promotional campaign, organize a pre-determined Twitter Q+A session between your client and users of that brand. Use a hashtag to keep the conversation separate and set up a Twitter username for that particular discussion.
Let your client see how he or she can immediately engage with their consumer base. They get both positive and constructive criticism in the open, and the customer feels appreciated because their brand is listening. Relationship building like that is priceless and if your client doesn’t get social media’s benefits then, they probably never will.
I’ve met a lot of PR agency bosses (corporate and boutique) that seem to have their head stuck in the sand when it comes to growing their agency. They seem to feel that they’re the only ones that have something of value to say, or offer. Get over yourself.
Some of the brightest voices are being unheard because of the way you think. The industry is changing and new blood is heading the rush. Instead of trying to hold that back, embrace it.
Do you have team meetings? Hand over the floor to a junior executive or intern and see what they have to say. While their ideas might not all be gold, what happens if you discover that one nugget that blows you away so much you wonder why you weren’t doing it in the first place? Greatness is in everyone – allow it to shine and it can only benefit you and your client in the long run.
Share the Accolades
There’s nothing better than seeing a carefully crafted PR campaign come to fruition and be a major success. You’re cock-a-hoop because it shows your agency knows its stuff and your client is over the moon with the resultant interest in his or her company. So why not share the success?
Suggest a fun agency/client get-together where everyone from both companies can get to know each other better away from a corporate environment. Your team feels more involved, and they should – after all, they were an integral part of the success as well, weren’t they? And your client sees you’re appreciative of their involvement in helping your campaign, therefore strengthening the relationship. It’s a win-win.
Change is all around us. Are you keeping up?
photo credit:Jose Téllez