PR Pros: Are You Pleasing the Right Client?

25 02 2014

A young corporate PR person we’ll call “Joe” was working on his very first project for the company’s CEO. Joe was a bit leery about turning his work over to the CEO without having some kind of safety net. So, he asked a few of the company’s vice presidents to review the piece.

Knowing it was for the CEO, each VP offered Joe some suggestions as to what each thought the CEO wanted. And one VP spent an hour with Joe, overwhelming him with a detailed discourse, complete with back up charts, graphs and documents, to support his views of what he thought the CEO really wanted.

Armed with this new perspective, Joe completely re-wrote the piece. After having it proofread by a colleague, he took it up to the CEO’s office. A short while later, the CEO’s administrative assistant summoned the PR rookie back up to the executive suite.

Joe beamed proudly, sure that the CEO was going to praise his brilliant work.

Instead, the CEO began to berate him for missing the mark so badly. Joe was crestfallen.

Joe tried to explain how he had run the piece by the VPs and how he had incorporated their insight and followed their direction. Shaking his head slowly, the CEO said something that Joe would never forget.

“Son, you’re new here so I’m going to give you some advice. There are a lot of people here you CAN make happy … but there is only one person here that you HAVE to make happy.”

Accepting reviews, input and insight from others is good, but if you focus on that ONE person that is the ultimate client, you’re more likely to hit the mark … and advance your career.

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2 responses

25 02 2014

As always Jim, concise and solid advice! Molly

26 02 2014
Mike Pennington

Great story – always listen to the customer. Counsel, advise, recommend but at the end of the day, his t-shirt says Boss.

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