The reality of PR is that your client is your boss. They are your revenue stream and it is important to keep them happy, but this does not mean the client is always right. They hired you because you are the expert.
Unfortunately, telling your client they are wrong can lead to some uncomfortable conversations. A few years ago, I was working with a client (who’s name I will omit) that was certain their product’s name was unique and creative. They were right, if unique and creative = perversely inappropriate.
Our team tried to delicately explain the name was inappropriate and probably wouldn’t be well received by the media, but the owner insisted the name was a winner. After pitching to a few trade publications, we received some emails from reporters who did not care for the name and were able to give our client a third party perspective. This quickly convinced them to change the name to something less offensive.
Later on, this client wanted to help the product launch by booking a booth at the largest adult (think XXX) conference in the country. The client also set me up with a list of people I could contact for interviews with the media and on it I found a famous adult movie actress.
I’m not trying to say there is anything wrong with the adult industry. It is a lucrative and honest industry, but had we known from the beginning that the client wanted to go in that direction we would have probably chosen not to work with them. An agency’s clients are a reflection of their work and we just couldn’t risk our other clients being offended or put off by one client.
Ultimately, the best practice is total communication with your client. If they come up with a bad idea, do not be a yes man/woman. They are paying you for your expert opinion so give it.
-Wendy Parish, Account Specialist