Our friends at Beaupre & Co Public Relations have a great blog post about how to get the most from your PR firm. If you work with an agency or are considering an agency, it’s worth a read.
We have this discussion often at the AHA offices and with clients. For us, it’s always about how do we deliver the most to our clients. To do that, we have come to realize that our client sometimes needs to focus on how to get the most from AHA. Sometimes, it’s a learning experience for them – especially if they haven’t worked with an agency before or they have had a bad or mediocre experience.
We’re fortunate. AHA Creative Strategies is a great size – not too big, not too small. This means that Paul and/or I have direct relationships with each of our clients, but we also bring a whole team to the process. It allows AHA to provide the expertise and skill sets necessary, but our clients know that a partner is actively involved in their account. That brings a strong feeling of trust to the relationship. If there is something that isn’t working or something that is working so well it deserves additional focus, our clients know that we are paying attention and will put it on the table for discussion.
And speaking of discussion, that’s another point made in the Beaupre blog (called Checkmate). It falls under the heading “embrace objective outside counsel.” Discussion is a good thing. We are brought on to bring an outside perspective to a client and we do. This means that we have discussions, debates and even disagreements (but we’re never disagreeable) about things. That is a great thing. We often have clients calling us a day after a debate about a topic, thanking us for providing a fresh perspective and new thoughts. Now, it doesn’t mean that we’re always 100% right, but it does create an opportunity to think and talk through different strategies and avenues of approach. This allows for a healthy debate and the end result means that you have looked at the opportunities and/or challenges from several angles, and that is always productive.
At AHA, we spend a great deal of time polishing our skill sets, expanding our expertise and keeping ourselves informed and experienced in new and emerging tools. We are specialists in communications strategy. We become immersed in the fields/industries of our clients, but I have to tell you, no one knows your organization and its culture or your field of expertise like you do. I don’t care how specialized a PR firm is in an industry (and there are some are great specialized firms), we still need your knowledge and understanding of the field, the culture, the subtle nuances that are a part of the fabric of your business. We can help you to pull the stories that matter, to develop, improve and maintain relationships, to do great things, but it’s a partnership. One that can be of incredible value to your organization.