In our industry, we want to help our clients and their organizations truly recognize the value of communications on their business. One reality is that for many organizations – the C-suite is the place where “value” is determined. So how do we, as communicators, get there more often?
1. Journey up the decision-making chain by building relationships across all levels of a client’s organization. It should be easy for a large company like H&K to introduce senior colleagues to all of the decision makers in our clients’ organizations on a peer-to-peer basis.
2. Change the relationship from supplier to partner by engaging with client challenges early. Don’t wait for the RFP or to be given a task. Anticipate the needs and advise before you have to compete.
3. Maintain a strong commitment to “value add” by making yourselves available to client offsite planning sessions and other think tank strategy sessions. Make sure you and your team are committed to execution with excellence. Help solve “out of scope” issues. Finally, show your flexibility by offering to fill client resource gaps.
4. Be your client’s best business friend. I am not talking about giving them hockey tickets or attending their daughter’s wedding. I am referring to being a mentor to their career concerns and coaching them on how to keep their work focused on the goals of their company.
5. Measure! Measure! Measure! Measurement is the proof that value has been received. Start by isolating the impact of PA/PR programming and then measure impact against business goals. This means moving beyond impressions or numbers of meetings. It means tracking the impact you’ve had on your client’s business. This is the key to getting attention from business leaders.
Remember, the more value we continue to demonstrate as communications consultants, the more the view from the top about the role of our industry will change!