We’re in a competitive business. Not only do corporate communications and investor relations professionals have to overcome the challenges associated with building awareness for our clients, whether it’s on Main Street or Wall Street, but it’s also about keeping clients happy.
It’s never about drinking the proverbial Kool Aid. That’s just bad, and advisors should never be “yes” people; and saying no to clients at times is good, but only if tangible options are presented.
At the end of the day, it’s all about adding value. Consider these simple hints:
Know thy client. It’s essential to learn everything, from the product or service they offer, to their internal structure and competitive landscape.
Stay ahead of the game. Finding the “next big thing” or even something smaller that will impact a client’s organization before they do helps position outside agencies as insiders, a mainstay for maintaining long-standing relationships.
It’s OK to say no. Clients pay for strategic counsel. It would be a disservice if, as advisors, we only followed blindly without asking the question, “What if?” Make sure the counter argument is sound and solution-based.
Think outside the box. Although cliché and maybe risky, reaching key audiences, including customers, investors, employees and others in today’s cluttered media landscape takes bold new ideas that generate traction and results.
Demonstrate value. This has been one of the most fundamental challenges for PR and IR firms. We don’t “make” anything per se, but we do offer products and services designed to build awareness and loyalty among a client’s key audiences. Educating clients on message impact beyond earned media or stock price is paramount.
We’re in a tough and difficult business. Consider the fact that being a public relations executive is one of the top stressful jobs of 2016, according to Careercast.com.
Be that as it may, we continue to do the work which at times can seem to be a thankless vocation. The new and ever-changing paradigm shift in corporate communications and investor relations only adds to the list of client challenges. Nevertheless, staying informed and thinking like an insider will ultimately help generate real results and keep clients happy.
— George Medici, firstname.lastname@example.org