I have to admit that I am obsessed with one Presidential candidate’s consistent “winning” rhetoric. He must say the word “win” dozens of times a day. It got me thinking. What does it mean to win to him? What would we win if we won? Why is winning so important to this candidate and no other? Or is it? Do I win for my clients? Well, yes, when I am. And, sometimes I’m not. So, how do I do it, win? Here’s how it starts and evolves for PR.
It’s All About Attitude
The best client engagements start even before we’ve won an account. I can hear the hunger in a prospect’s voice, see it in their eyes. They want to achieve a goal, not at any cost, but know that it can be accomplished. The prospect wants to hear creative ideas, talk about different approaches, and hear previous results from similar campaigns. I love this kind of person. He/she is always enthusiastic about what their company is doing or will be doing and confident that we can get press, generate leads, and contribute to building their business. There’s energy in the room that is unescapable. It’s infectious. To some people, it’s too much pressure. To me, it’s a target to hit, or targets. They’re also moving at the speed of light, always thinking, learning, teaching, and inspiring others to do better.
Planning is Practical
Once the engagement begins, we’re not spending weeks or month laying out a traditional plan in Word format. My contract specifically has laid out what the client expects and what we will accomplish within a given period. The marketing plan is campaign oriented broken down by common themes within each discipline (ie. PR, social, content marketing, etc.). We’re meeting weekly – sometimes more – to make sure that the team is on task to reach our monthly goals. The team is also using tools to monitor the client’s competitors, market landscape, analyst coverage, and press. There’s this genuine feeling that we’re all in this together and that we will integrate our efforts to reach the company’s objectives. It’s electric.
Creativity is Key
The client knows more about their company than any PR agency ever will. Especially in the technology sector, change is imminent and comes fast. Not only is it important to keep in close contact with each other – PR agency and client – but equally important for both parties to be on the same page about upcoming company campaigns and how the PR agency can realistically and effectively generate results for the company. Creativity is critical and can come in many forms. For example, sometimes a PR agency will guide a client on how best to make an announcement the most impactful in terms of how much press coverage is realistic and other times an agency will help a client develop a story or see how a topic can get placed as an article submission. Thoughtful creative advice may not be the result of a PR brainstorm, but may come after a careful competitor and market analysis and strategic recommendations.
Checks and Balances
So often lost in mid-size client engagements is attribution. Where did the lead come from? How did it happen? Finding a way to tie campaigns to results is an art. Speaking from a PR point of view, most clients think that PR will only generate brand awareness. But, campaigns I’ve run have helped clients acquire leads, spark funding interest, and much more. Constantly checking in with the client to hear if the needle is moving forward and how we got there is an important task to learn where we have been winning, where we can keep winning, and how we can improve.
If your team members adopt a good attitude, keep it simple, constantly challenge one another, and come up with creative ways that are making a difference then you will win together.