Passion. It’s a great word. We use it to describe everything and anything. People are passionately in love. Editors have passion for grammar. I am passionate about coffee—not the quality mind you, more so the quantity. PR professionals have a deep and unyielding passion for the work they do. So too their clients have a passion for what they do—but where is the client’s passion for the work done by their agency?
Of all the professionals I speak to regularly, I hear similar stories. And one keeps coming back to me. Their clients have become clinical about their brand and their image. How many hits did that article get? How much revenue can be directly attributed this campaign? How much coffee was consumed during the strategy sessions? Wait, how much?!
To power and predict success, proper analysis, forecasting and numbers crunching is essential. But so too is a passion for showcasing your brand. It has forever been true that there is a need among agencies to pump up clients when discussing marketing or PR strategies. However, we appear to be living in a time where there is more planning and work going into getting clients excited about the strategy than there is going into creating the strategy. Why is this? Passion. Or more correctly, sharing the passion. Many agencies exist in a cycle of assessing client needs, building strategies to meet those needs, executing the plan, reporting on the results. Each side is passionate about what they’re doing, but they aren’t sharing that passion with each other.
How can clients get excited? The answer is simple: Storytelling. Reporting is dry, humorless and clinical, but storytelling is rich, vibrant and engaging. Both carry the same details of what was accomplished, but only one ignites a fire. When agencies tell the story of their brand evangelism on behalf of their client, they’re sharing their passion. And the fire spreads. Passion is contagious. When a client hears the honest and heartfelt passion with which you describe what you are accomplishing for them, they will become excited and engaged. The numbers will always matter, but now, they want to know the tale of how you achieved the numbers.
When PR professionals share their passion with their clients, then those clients, like a mirror, will reflect it back. That is a relationship builder like no other. It will strengthen the bonds of business, increase client retention, grow available budget. All of these will have CEOs on the phone to you, not demanding the latest spreadsheet, but eagerly looking for the next story. When we rekindle the passion clients have for the amazing work their agencies are doing on their behalf, everyone wins.
So, where did the passion go? The answer is (to quote every 80s movie ever made): It was within you the whole time.