Kicking off 2020 with an agency search? Or, maybe you’re embarking on your very first agency partnership. Regardless, starting a new relationship – whether it be professional or personal – can be a little daunting. But, it doesn’t have to be. After more than 30 years of experience in the agency world – I’ve developed quite the arsenal of tips based on the most stellar client relationships and ones that weren’t, ahem, a fit.
- It’s about you – not them. If you’re talking with “publicists” or PR professionals, look for partners that ask a lot of questions and that, most importantly, listen to you versus talk about themselves. The best agency search is actually a two-way interview.
- What’s your budget? While it’s a valid question, it shouldn’t really be the first one asked. Potential red flag.
- Discovery work on the agency’s part is a MUST. You are best served to align with a partner who seeks to understand YOUR challenges, pain points and desired outcomes. And really “hear you.”
- Things should get deep. If someone isn’t pushing for deep conversations with you and key team leaders – that’s a tip-off that it might not be a good fit. Good PR partners should seek to become an extension of your team, looking for ways to know as much as they can about your people, as professionals, and your business.
- It’s not just media relations. Another good partner trait is someone who wants to understand all of your marketing efforts – not just news coverage. They all work hand-in-hand and need to be integrated.
Bottom line: Not all agencies will be right-fits for companies and vice-versa.
Enter the agency search process being 100 percent okay with this.
Understandably, I’m not saying that you’ll be searching for the “true love” equivalent of an agency partner. However, finding a company that you like and trust enough to work with every day is possible. Look for open and honest people, who truly have your business’ best interest at heart. I stand corrected – maybe that is true love.