What do clients want from their agencies?
It is a question that CorpComms Magazine posed last year in our inaugural survey of in-house communicators, conducted by Message House.
And this year we’re asking it again. Our survey is now open and all respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win one of five pairs of tickets to the CorpComms Awards on 20 November, or one of ten bottles of champagne.
It takes just five minutes to complete. Just Follow this link or use https://survey.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cw3PLlx8mcDLoTH.
So what did the respondents tell us last year?
Well, they voted Headland their favourite corporate PR agency while Brunswick won the financial PR crown. The question is: will they retain those crowns?
More than eight in ten in-house communicators also claimed that the attribute they most valued in a PR agency is proactivity.
But was that really the case?
Our inaugural survey discovered a different reality when clients were quizzed on the attributes they most valued in specific agencies.
Sure, they still wanted proactivity but other attributes leapfrogged it in importance. It could be strategic insight, sectoral knowledge or media connections... each agency, it seemed, was valued for different attributes.
And those with less experience in an in-house function valued different attributes from more seasoned professionals.
Were they happy with the agencies they currently worked with? One in eight said ‘not’ while two in three were ‘very likely’ to recommend their incumbent agencies - which could suggest that, at any time, one in three in-house communicators may be considering alternative options.
Those most content with their incumbent agencies mentioned the importance of chemistry - that elusive quality that is hard to encapsulate in a pitch document - and how the relationship worked best when it was hard to see the join between the agency and the in-house team. They are as one.
If the relationship is right, then price - it emerged - is rarely a factor.
Do these findings hold true this year? That’s what CorpComms Magazine is trying to discover. But we are also seeking more insights, such as how clients define and measure success and what creativity might look like in practice.
If you fill in our survey, CorpComms Magazine guarantees that your personal details will not be used for any marketing activities while your responses will remain confidential.
It is early days but we are trying to create a resource that should prove as useful for in-house communicators as it is for those agencies being monitored. Wouldn’t it be more useful to know how highly an agency’s strategic advice is rated than simply how much money it made last year? And wouldn’t agencies like to know how they are viewed against their perceived rivals?