What do executives want most from PR?

For PR agencies, understanding client expectations is a key part of making client-agency relationships work. Let’s face it, every year too many client-agency relationships fail. Often times when these relationships run into trouble it is because of poor communication between the PR team and the client or executive team.

So what is it that clients and executives want most from PR? While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, there are a few important things to note about the expectations that clients and executives have for PR. Here are a few observations shared by PR pros themselves:

Clients and executives have high expectations when it comes to PR results. And, even though many PR budgets have faced cuts in the past few years, overall, expectations from clients and executives have not been adjusted to reflect the fewer resources many PR programs are now being allotted. According to a recent survey, 41 percent of PR pros say that executives want PR to achieve more results on a smaller budget. Another 41 percent of PR professionals believe executives expect PR to optimize programs in order to achieve more with existing budgets. Finally, a mere four percent of all PR professionals feel executives are willing to adjust expectations and accept less when budgets are cut.

So, if clients and executives are truly demanding more results on smaller budgets, how can PR live up to all that is expected of it? For starters, PR teams need to:

  • Be upfront about expectations. Clearly define business objectives and the goals PR is expected to achieve.
  • Define success. Make sure both sides agree on how progress will be measured – then openly communicate about PR developments.
  • Measure and analyze results. Track campaign progress and use that information to steer future PR efforts.
  • Be open to change. Look for ways to eliminate inefficiencies and get more out of every PR dollar. Don’t be afraid to make strategy adjustments in order to optimize the program.
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