When I first started this company, I was equipped with several years of experience working in agencies and nearly a decade of working in senior corporate positions on the ‘client-side’. This combination gave me a special insight into what makes an agency successful.
As a client, the first thing I always told any agency (any vendor, really) who I hired was that I didn’t want any surprises. If there was bad news – if something had gone wrong – I wanted to know about it as soon as possible. I learned the hard way that holding on to bad news was a sure way to make it worse.
Another principle I adopted in the early days of this company was that I wanted to make sure my clients were billed for as little administration work as possible. As a client, I had fired agencies who routinely sent me large invoices based mostly on meetings, talk and paperwork. I wanted my agency to be lean. I wanted less time spent on administration and meetings and more time spent on doing the work that delivered value.
We try to keep our meetings focused with as few people in the room as needed. There aren’t many things more annoying to me than seeing a room full of professionals – all billing hourly – and seeing few of them contributing anything of value. Sometimes we’ll have less experienced employees participate as observers in situations to learn, but our invoices are adjusted accordingly to reflect this on-the-job training.
This is all rooted in our desire to provide excellent client service. And judging by the fact that we win most of our clients through referral, I believe we’ve done a fairly good job in that respect. We make mistakes, of course, but we always do our best to respond to them professionally and hope to learn from them.
This has been in our DNA from the very beginning. I summarized my personal call to action in the margin of my business plan a dozen years ago – Be Urgent, Be Excellent, Be Yourself. I still approach every day this way, but I’ve also expanded this credo recently to give all of our employees more guidance on what our expectations are.
Today, our team knows there are five crucial characteristics that, if followed, will lead to personal, agency and – most importantly – client success. We strive to be:
1. Curious and always learning.
We must always be learning about our own business (keeping up with the latest trends in communications, marketing and PR), and our clients’. Our people are expected to continue to read and learn about our clients’ individual businesses and their industries.
2. Responsible stewards.
We own the projects and responsibilities given to us individually and as a group. When we see something that needs doing, we take responsibility to do it. We do this because that’s what makes a great team and that’s what our clients deserve.
We jump on projects with urgency, trying to complete and deliver them quickly. By incorporating urgency into our daily practice, we enhance our capacity to do more for our clients (especially in crisis).
4. Focused on delivering quality.
We want to work quickly, but we want to deliver the highest quality work possible. Most of the time, quality trumps speed for importance in our shop, but both are vital.
5. Positive in our attitude and approach to problem-solving.
We aim to bring solutions rather than concerns, and we try to always stay positive.
That’s what drives us forward as individuals and as a company. We judge ourselves against those characteristics because we know our clients are judging us against the same things.
When we execute well on those characteristics, we are able to deliver customized communications strategies for our clients, helping them break through the noise and achieve their goals. That can mean improving sales and profitability or maintaining and enhancing reputations.
We have earned a great deal of experience in health and wellness, agriculture, retail and financial services. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation on your business. See how we can help you with public relations, strong web strategies, social media and digital marketing.