As a public relations senior at ASU, I can’t help but frantically question my career opportunities after graduation, especially considering the state of the economy. Comprehension.prsa.org had a somewhat insightful post about the challenges of PR professionals at a time when clients are pinching their wallets and cutting public relations budgets. The post, “Long-range vision and leadership leads to long-term clients,” had a relatively self-explanatory title. It outlined various tactics to fulfilling the immediate and long-term needs of a client insomuch as drawing them a vision of “sailing together toward new and beneficial destinations.” They called it “horizon management.” Cute.
The post outlined the following ideas for agencies to achieve an interactive team process:
- Hold regular meetings every Monday to update client activities
- Use the meeting to brainstorm new ideas for clients on a rotating basis
- Have team leaders review background information in advance of the session
- Visualize the flow of activities and critical deadlines and plot your plan on an Excel spreadsheet
The ideas continued, emphasizing that agencies should create both current and long-term plans for the clients to prove their significance and long-term value.
As I read through this, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Shouldn’t you have been doing this from the very beginning anyway?” Why is this information presented as the solution to maintaining a client during the recession? Why isn’t this expected at any and all times?
If you establish a significant relationship with each and every client from the beginning, you should be confident that they wouldn’t be too quick to question whether your contribution to their company is within their budget. If you know that you have gone above and beyond their wildest PR dreams from the very beginning, then you won’t be cringing in anticipation of whether or not they’ll consider cutting you.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just a naive college student who awaits corruption of the real PR world. I don’t like to think so. All I know is that with the current state of the economy, I’ll be more than satisfied with any PR position sent my way, and I like to think I’ll be able to represent my client to the best of my ability from the very beginning…not just when I fear the separation notice.
“Horizon management” is a great theory, as long as it’s utilized from the get-go. If you wait until you start seeing budget cuts, you’ll probably be thrown off the boat before the sun sets.