Painless Client De-Briefs

I had an annual de-brief with a client recently. We worked together for 18-months, and we’re on hiatus until we have more news to share. I really admire this client. They have an incredible business. It’s employee-owned and all its parts seem to function beautifully. Those ‘parts’ are people - and in this area they excel.

Their people-management skills, their paths to growth and everything in between are excellently done. If that’s the right way of putting it.

Not unlike lots of clients, they aren’t PR practitioners, and so some of the subtle nuances that go into what we do can, and is, lost on them. So, part of our job is to educate them on how things work. The importance of deadlines - getting back to a busy reporter immediately. Or, the fact what we do isn’t paid but earned and that brings with it a fair amount of negotiation.

So, the de-brief. Another education. We were able to garner a sizeable amount of coverage over our tenure, especially given that their story is a bit inside baseball. The reason for success is the exceptional content they produce.

But there were misses, and we all felt it would be best to just lay out the facts. So, I put together a de-brief, what worked/didn’t work with recommendations. In these instances, I find that while I am unpacking what we did within the vertical of PR, really looking at the business holistically and how communications, in general, was impacted by the state of the business, can be really helpful for the client. Don’t be afraid to do this.

Sometimes we don’t realize how intuitively PR can read a company’s health. And as such, we can be an important resource for our client’s overall business strategies.

Our de-brief went well. I have huge respect for who they are and how they do what they do. But most of all I respect how well they listen. They are on their way to being one of the best in their industry, I know it.