At Little Red Rooster we’ve always been big believers in challenging staff to achieve greatness, whether it’s landing ‘coverage of the month’ or simply getting fit. We think it’s important to challenge our clients for the very same reasons.
Taking people out of their comfort zone and challenging them can produce results they didn’t realise they were capable off. Pushing the same envelope with clients can aid the creative process.
Let’s get one thing straight: we’re not the sort of agency that goes around telling our clients exactly what they should be doing. We recognise they are the best at what they do for a reason, and they have immense expertise in their respective industries.
Similarly, brands want to work with us because they know we have incredible relationships across the media spectrum, offer a valuable insight into what consumers want and our unique way of doing things aims to deliver outstanding results.
However, one of the biggest tools in any business, let alone PR, is effective communication. Interacting with clients on a regular basis can lead to exciting ideas and some of the most creative campaigns in the industry.
We’d be hard pressed to think of an occasion where one of our clients has proposed an idea so bad that we’ve had to step in and advise them against it, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be ready to – if we felt it was warranted.
“If a client was dead set on a particular campaign or working with a certain influencer or ambassador we felt wasn’t right for the brand, what sort of agency would we be if we didn’t challenge their way of thinking?” says Little Red Rooster co-founder Victoria Ruffy.
“There’s also the case of the agency being true to itself. We believe in sanity-versus-vanity PR and would seriously question a scenario that risked us going through the motions on a campaign we didn’t believe in.”
It can be hard to excel at anything if your heart isn’t it, and going along with something for the sake of it risks average results that wouldn’t do us or the client any favours.
“It’s a ‘hole-digging’ mentality that could lead to a client’s brand being damaged, and in the age of social media we all know that can spiral out of control,” says Little Red Rooster co-founder Henry Griffiths. “The best way to steer clear of crisis-management PR is to avoid a crisis that requires managing.
“A good PR agency will have the ability and willingness to truly challenge a client when situations like this arise. It takes bravery and might even put your credibility on the line, but the courage of one’s convictions is crucial.”
That doesn’t mean all PR agencies are infallible. Quite the opposite. We’re sure there are countless instances where agencies have pushed a client to do something that simply hasn’t worked.
A greater chance of success can depend on how well you know your client, how effectively you communicate, and the level of trust and mutual respect. This gives agencies the confidence to challenge clients in the first place and know how far to push things.
Challenging new clients may prove trickier, but calling the right play could be the making of a long-lasting relationship.
We’re an optimistic bunch at Little Red Rooster, and wouldn’t dismiss an idea out of hand without properly researching it first and having a constructive conversation with a client. There are always two sides to every story, after all.
It could be that the idea would benefit from fresh thinking or an approach from a different angle. Ironically, this can result in the agency being challenged and leading to spectacular campaigns. In instances like this you have to thrive on the pressure.
Whether you challenge a client or they challenge you, the sole aim is achieving greatness and creating campaigns that both parties can be proud of. If you think you’re right, stick to your guns sensitively and constructively and it will strengthen the partnership, not weaken it.