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Agency-Client WOW Relationship

Read on for highlights of guest lecturer Danreb Cartagena Mejia’s talk on ‘The Importance of PR Planning from agency and client perspective.’

Meet Dan. One time journalist from Manila, turned PR practitioner in two of the most respected agencies in Vietnam, and now working on the other side of the pond as the Marketing Director of ACFC Vietnam, the top fashion retailer in the country with brands such as GAP, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike. 

Last July 10, 2012 Dan visited the halls of RMIT University Vietnam to share with the current crop of client management students universal secrets in the practice of public relations in Vietnam from both sides of the client-agency relationship dichotomy. “I enjoy both,” he quipped when asked which role he preferred.

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“I enjoy both.” Dan on working in the agency or client side.

When it comes to one’s career, Dan recommends working in an agency first before becoming a client. “Agency gives you the implementation experience. You will know the network, and as a client you know what is happening, you understand what is going to be more realistic, what the real budget is.” 

Because he used to work for the agency side, he knows the tricks of the trade, and uses it to make better negotiations.

Because of his agency skills, Dan seems to take on the role of an all powerful, ideal client. Perceived by most as having the upper hand in this relationship as agencies take the usual role of seeking approval with every PR strategy and tactic they come-up with. How then can a WOW relationship be achieved with this unequal footing?

Dan, talks about the importance of the Way Of Working. 

“You need to know what each side wants. What each side perceives as important, what is valuable to them.” At the end of the day, keeping in mind that both sides want the same thing can result in the WOW factor.

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Source: Dan Mejia guest lecture slides, July 10, 2012
presented at RMIT University Vietnam.



That’s easy then, because both agency and client want the same output in PR… quantity and quality. Whether its using push or pull to educate the public about your brand or campaign, getting a return on investment (ROI) is what matters.

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The trends in PR for 2012- “its all about adaptability.”

Dan’s recent business trip to London gave him insights on the top 5 emerging trends in PR for 2012 (and beyond). This he suggests can be one of the ways both agency and client can work towards their common goal of achieving PR quantity and quality in these tough economic times. 

“The new public relations is about understanding relationships between people, what people want and need from these relationships, and how they form, sustain, and use communities of interest.”



But when it comes down to it, Dan posits that “An agency is only as good as its client.”

Yet there is something that can be added to this point of view, and I would like to make this suggestion, that… Agencies should help make their clients better. 

What are some of the ways agencies can educate clients? Hidden among the bullets in Dan’s presentation slides is one of the current challenges in public relations in Vietnam… “it is the agency’s task to educate client and raise the bar of PR Ethics even if the client emphasizes its own policies.”



Now that, in any perspective is a great result and will definitely create a WOW! in achieving a great agency-client working relationship in the public relations industry in Vietnam and beyond.

As future client managers, in what other aspects can we help make clients ‘better’? What are some of the issues a client need to know more about? How can we have a WOW relationship with our clients? Share your thoughts, by  replying to this post.

~Mel C

To connect with Dan and know more about the exciting PR possibilities in Vietnam’s growing fashion landscape please send a message via:

FACEBOOK.COM/ACFCVIETNAM
FACEBOOK.COM/NIKEVIETNAM
@danrebcmejia danreb.mejia@imexpan.net

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6 thoughts on “Agency-Client WOW Relationship

  1. Cao Kim Sang on said:

    Check

  2. Working ethics have always been my interest, Dan really impressed me with his daring and ambitious ideas of educating clients, the so-called profit-oriented people. That encouraged me a lot in pursuing my working ethics in such an industry of dilema^^

  3. I pretty much agree with Dan on the point that ‘agency is just as good as client’. This to me means that both agency and client holds an equal role in balancing a relationship that longs to be mutually beneficial. Therefore, it is crucial that as agencies, we try to advise our clients to better their performance because it will also do us good. From my view, one of the aspects we could help them are advising them on focusing on the products/services’ qualities before using advertising or PR to promote them. Further, we can also ask them to do more research on the market as well as the consumers in order to stand in their shoes when doing promotion.

  4. Anonymous on said:

    I pretty much agree with Dan on the point that ‘agency is just as good as client’. This to me means that both agency and client holds an equal role in balancing a relationship that longs to be mutually beneficial. Therefore, it is crucial that as agencies, we try to advise our clients to better their performance because it will also do us good. From my view, one of the aspects we could help them are advising them on focusing on the products/services’ qualities before using advertising or PR to promote them. Further, we can also ask them to do more research on the market as well as the consumers in order to stand in their shoes when doing promotion.

  5. I took down my note in this part of Dan because of its interest. “Wow relationship” somehow can be seen as win-win situation for both agency and client. But, in order to have all the Wow factors in both two sides seems to be difficult. We need to accept the fact that profit is the most important factor for both agency and client in order for them to survive in the economical downturn. So “Wow relationship” can be considered as the level that is not easy to reach. However, in my opinion, we need to think further than the current profit that we can have in one project. The relationship here is just not just the relationship but it is our furture chance to create more profit in the long run with more projects created by this relationship.

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