From the Archives: Client Relationships

June 28, 2016

Everlasting Value in Client Relationships

Have you ever come across an old receipt that instantly transports you back in time? An old Polaroid photo you hadn’t seen in decades? You can almost remember what you were wearing or what you had for lunch when the wave of nostalgia crashes down on you.

A week ago, I stumbled across a few white papers written by COHN leadership in 2009. The exercise was for our leaders to offer perspective and commentary on the state of the industry, and today, they serve as an incredible snapshot into the 2009 way of thinking.

The most interesting part: While some of the specifics have changed (Who could have predicted Snapchat in 2009?), the meat of each argument is still surprisingly edible. In fact, as I noted in my previous blog that highlighted Robin Richards’ 2009 perspective on social media and crisis communications, not only is this content still relevant, it was practically clairvoyant in 2009.

Today, it’s Ali Lego’s turn. After reading her take on client relationships from 2009, many points in her argument still hold true today. Let’s take a look at some of Ali’s pearls of wisdom from seven years ago.

Real Client Relationships Deliver Real Results
By Ali Lego, Director of Client Services
(Editor’s Note: Ali is still with COHN and is now our Chief Operating Officer.)

“The best client relationships are real relationships—built over time on a solid foundation of shared values and honest communication.”

Is it any wonder that Ali Lego became our Chief Operating Officer? This 2009 definition of a client relationship is the backbone of our brand here at COHN, and it couldn’t be any truer today. Just in like real relationships, collaboration, communication, and honesty mean the most to client relationships, and that’s what you’ll get here at COHN.

“It is important for the agency to know and understand the pressures that clients are under, be accommodating yet realistic, and manage deadlines and expectations efficiently. And sometimes, clients just need an acknowledgment that they are real people, too.”

I’ve spent some time on the client/corporate side, and it was one of the most enlightening experiences in my career. Kudos to Ali for her leadership in 2009 by acknowledging the reality and importance of the client’s perspective.

“An agency can design great creative, build an impactful website, or pitch a compelling PR story, but if the agency doesn’t deliver programs based on sound strategy executed through quality processes with measurable objectives, then it isn’t delivering real results.”

Yes, yes and more yes! This idea, among other things, continues to separate our agency from others. Any group of creatives can churn out beautiful concepts. The same is true in digital and PR. Where an agency like COHN truly provides value to the client is the strategy. We won’t move forward with a project unless it’s rooted in strategy, and that’s as true today as it was in 2009.

If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend reading Ali’s full white paper. It’s a client relationship manifesto of sorts, and it explains our success in building beautiful partnerships with our clients.

Download Ali’s 2009 white paper here.

The “From the Archives” series continues next week with a 2009 white paper I found on the COHN servers about search marketing. No discipline has changed more than web and digital, and yet…the white paper still contains relevant insights. Stay tuned!


What We Learned This Week – June 24, 2016