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PR Survey: 89.5% Say More Collaborative Relationships Would Equal Stronger Resultson 20 May 2010Posted by Nick Foggin
Results from an online survey of public relations professionals indicate that agency/client relationships are “somewhat collaborative,” according to 55% of respondents. Nearly 90% of those surveyed said they’d achieve better results if these relationships were more collaborative.
When asked to define an effective, collaborative PR relationship, some common themes emerged, including:
• Openness (open door, open minds, open communication)
• Frequent, two-way communication
• Clear expectations
“Collaboration itself is nothing new. But, online tools, like shared workspaces and document management, improve communication and brainstorming, while providing a safe forum for feedback,” explained Wayne Pope, CEO of Glasscubes.com. “In PR, this helps agencies strengthen client relationships, which in turn leads to better results.”
Phone (100%) and email (97.7%) still dominate communication between agencies and their clients, with in-person communication (88.5%) a close third. A third of the survey participants report using an online shared workspace, while 24% rely on instant messaging and 19% use Twitter.
5 Tips to Improve Agency/Client Collaboration
Every day, Glasscubes helps small businesses improve working relationships by strengthening collaboration. The following tips are based on that first-hand experience, as well as feedback collected in the survey.
• Stop thinking in terms of “agency” and “client.” Instead, be part of one team working side-by-side to meet goals. By tearing down the walls separating the agency from the client, you’ll build a more trusting, team-focused relationship.
• Reduce reliance on email. Email is quick and easy, but it doesn’t lend itself to give-and-take, back-and-forth communication – one of the driving forces behind effective collaboration. For example, by encouraging conversations on a shared online workspace, agencies and clients can listen to suggestions from multiple people, discuss ideas and work together to develop a solution. Plus, reducing emails means less time wasted searching email archives, and no more forgetting to CC someone.
• Encourage collective brainstorming. Barriers develop when agencies think they’re supposed to have all the answers. Likewise, tension is created when clients don’t provide enough input, but still expect agencies to deliver the goods. Instead, brainstorm together and encourage feedback. Combine the collective resources of the agency with the client’s subject-matter expertise for better results. This brainstorming can happen in-person or online.
• Build trust. Trust isn’t developed overnight. But, it’s critical to effective agency/client relationships. With trust comes confidence, an openness to new ideas and a sense of partnership.
• Continue to evolve. Just because “that’s the way it’s always been done” doesn’t mean it’s the right. Nearly 90% of survey respondents said relationships are “somewhat collaborative,” which is okay, but not good enough. There’s a clear desire to increase collaboration as a means to generate better results. Be willing to shake up traditional agency/client communication.
About the Survey
Distirbuted via SurveyMonkey.com, 89 public relations professionals completed the five-question survey. Seventy-five percent of the respondents work for a communication agency, while 12% work for a company that outsources work to an agency.
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