What to expect from your PR agency’s account leader

Aug 22, 2018

As a communications executive working with a PR agency, you might assume that your account team members, and especially your main point of contact, practice what they preach. After all, you hired them to communicate your value to target markets.

Yet, it doesn’t hurt to take stock of your agency’s communications prowess. It can be the difference between a trusted partnership and a stressful relationship.

Sound client communication is the forerunner to delivering value and results on a consistent basis. It facilitates your productivity by making the most of your precious time.

Your account lead is the quarterback that sets the tone for your entire agency relationship.

Here are some best practices and questions to consider:

General communication

  • At the outset of a relationship, explain your preferred methods of communication and set an expectation of frequency
  • Expect that even in a long-distance relationship, your agency, and especially your account executive, is committed to periodic face-to-face strategy and planning meetings
  • Insist that your account lead make the most of each encounter with you
  • Does s/he empower you to take action or make a decision rather than suspend progress until you return a phone call?
  • For e-mail communication, is s/he concise yet thorough with a request?

Account progress

  • Do you consistently get a sense of progress, alignment with program objectives and results?
  • Does your account lead explain how objectives are being addressed?
  • Does s/he use consistent language when discussing projects?

Merchandising results

  • Insist that your account lead explain how a placement accomplishes specific program objectives
  • S/he also should explain how results validate the direction of a program or indicate program adjustments
  • Does s/he detail how coverage can be used in sales and marketing activities, e.g. how a piece can be socialized through Click to Tweet and other social tools?
  • Does s/he offer to assist in tactical execution?

Holding your agency lead accountable to these and other best practices can help your agency relationship flourish and deliver tangible results for your organization.

Philip Anast

Philip has been building, managing and executing PR programs for technology providers since 1995. Using the power of storytelling and influencer relations, he has launched new companies, brands and products, resulting in market penetration, market share growth and corporate acquisition for such clients as HP, Language Analysis Systems, Motorola and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Prior to joining Amendola Communications, Philip worked at Chicago-based PR firm Tech Image, serving in various roles over his 15-year tenure, including managing client programs, providing strategic counsel, pitching new business, growing client relationships, teaching best practices and managing finances. During that time, he served several clients targeting the healthcare/HIT sector, including NEC Display Solutions, IBS (now Iptor Supply Chain Systems) and Cleo. Philip also has worked in the technology practices of Hill and Knowlton and Porter Novelli. He began his PR career at U.S. Robotics and 3Com. Philip holds bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.