Every few weeks, we post a profile called Alone with COHN. One by one, we put our employees on the hot seat to answer a set of fun and playful questions. This go-round, the prize wheel landed on Robin Lybarger, Vice President: PR & Social Media.
Securing new business is a competitive process. What are most clients looking for when they come to COHN? How do you figure out if they are a good fit?
We receive new business leads from companies looking for an outsourced marketing partner, a website, a PR partner, an agency to help them rebrand, and everything in between. Since we are a fully integrated agency, we listen to why the prospect is seeking an agency partner, and sometimes they are very clear on their needs, while other leads require us to ask a lot of questions to get to the genesis of their inquiry. Once we clearly understand their goals, we develop a proposal to help achieve them. Our job is to take a step back and provide solutions, even if they are an evolution of the initial request, that maximize the prospect’s time and resources.
COHN has a reputation of building long-term client relationships. What qualities make a good client-partnership?
During my tenure, I have had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients, which is one of the benefits of working in an agency environment. However, COHN’s philosophy toward client relationships sets us apart. There are two major focus areas that contribute to our success in building lasting partnerships.
First, we spend time to thoroughly understand our client’s business to ensure our efforts support their brand messaging and company goals. Since we approach things for the long haul, we recognize that if we design smart and creative solutions, we demonstrate our value when they reach their goals.
Figuring out how best to work with each client isn’t mysterious; in fact, it is quite simple. If you listen, engage and connect, you can create a professional relationship where you recognize and adjust to your client’s work and communication style, as well as discover and appreciate their personal interests and passions. We use both insights to tailor our interactions, which result in fostering an impactful and trusting partnership.
For me, the most successful (and fun) client partnerships are those that blend respect with chemistry.
What is your advice for a company who is shopping around?
Make sure you trust and like whomever you will be working with, because when things get stressful or challenging, you need them to deliver. Check client references along with the longevity of their client base and team; these are invaluable indicators that should play into your decision.
You’ve worked with several different business environments throughout your career. What about the agency-environment and specifically COHN’s business model has kept you at COHN for all these years?
It all starts with Jeff. He is a phenomenal leader who truly cares about those who work for him. Jeff has high expectations, but also understands the importance of personal lives. His ability to push hard while encouraging living life is the right combination for me, as well as the others at COHN. When you appreciate and respect others, you not only build loyalty, but a team with a stronger desire to deliver excellence. For me, this is the essence of the COHN culture.
You spend a lot of your free time at hockey games watching your son play, have you ever you scored a new business lead from your numerous tournaments and travels?
Not yet! However, I have had several occasions where I exchanged business cards on the airport shuttle bus. Not to mention, I am still trying to convince Jeff that a ski pass is a great new business investment. He hasn’t taken me up on it.