Starting a relationship with a new client, or launching a new project for an old, repeat customer, is a lot like dating. At first, groping in the dark may yield some quick, mutually satisfactory results. But eventually roles and expectations must be expressed if the relationship is to be sustained and a success.
Try this check-off list as work begins for a new client:
1. What does the client really want?
The client may say it wants lots of positive stories in the media. Determine why. Selling product may be one simple reason. Or there may be deeper, more complicated, unspoken reasons to consider – legal, mergers, employment issues, for instance? The answer may change your recommended strategies.
2. How is success defined?
The client may have a clear, achievable goal in mind, or be unable to articulate a desired outcome. Work with the client from the start to quantify a measureable outcome. The definition could be as simple as getting 10 major stories placed in key publications. Or success may be more challenging, such as achieving a 10 percent increase in customer approval ratings.
3. Is there a culture for success?