Nov 03

The Ideal Client

Imagine the ideal client. Someone who, once you've proven yourself:
– allows you to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
– has seat at the table for you when the organization's strategic business decisions are being made.
– gives you full access to the senior thought leaders within the organization.
– celebrates your successes and commiserates with you when something goes wrong.
– stays loyal to you through thick and thin.

009 fixed by MadClients such as Monica Teague at Whirlpool, Tom Topinka at Genworth and Mike Kachel at Clifford Chance certainly fill the ideal client bill. But, when an employee recently cornered me at our 15th anniversary party and asked me to name my all-time favorite client, I volunteered the name of Allison Adams. 
Allison was my client at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School. Like Monica, Tom and Mike, Allison was a true strategic partner. But, where Allison truly separated herself from virtually every other client with whom I've worked was in her unswerving loyalty.

Allison, you see, went with me whenever I packed up and left a previous agency behind. So, when I bagged Earle Palmer Brown for Brouillard, Allison convinced her management to stick with me. And, when Ed and I bagged Brouillard to start Peppercom, Allison held steady. And, when Allison resigned, she took Peppercom along with her to UNC (after we’d had a falling out with her successor). Loyalty like that is virtually extinct in the modern business world.

We'd still be working with Allison if a certain dean hadn't decided to reallocate funds from public relations to fundraising (and how, I ask, does one fundraise without simultaneously raising awareness?). Oh well.

As Don Draper said in a recent Mad Men episode, "Accounts come and accounts go. That's the business we're in." Don's right of course. But, then again, Don Draper never met Allison Adams.

Sep 23

Going mobile (and global)

Monica Teague, Senior Manager, PR, Brand Business Teams, Whirlpool, Tom Topinka, Public Relations Leader, Genworth and Amber Harris, Manager of Digital Communications for Discovery Communications work for completely different businesses and are faced with completely different communications challenges.

But, as you’ll hear in the second part of the podcast we recorded to mark Peppercom’s 15th anniversary, all three agree the future will be dominated by mobile and global communications.

Let us know what you think. Do you agree with our guests? Or, is there some other soon-to-emerge technology or movement that will supersede mobile and global?  Click on the gray bar below, and enjoy.


Sep 14

What’s it all mean?

Peppercom_logo It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Dickens may have written those lines more than 150 years ago. But, the same could be said about the present and future fortunes of the public relations industry. The most recent economic downturn may adversely impacted our profession, but, we’ve bounced back rather nicely.

That said, there are more challenges, obstacles and hurdles facing our profession than ever before. So, what’s a senior corporate counselor or agency executive to do? That’s the question my business partner, Ed, and I posed to three top corporate communications executives:

  • Monica Teague, Senior Manager, PR, Brand Business Teams, Whirlpool
  • Tom Topinka, Public Relations Leader, Genworth
  • Amber Harris, Manager of Digital Communications for Discovery Communications.

We recorded 30 minutes on two separate podcasts. The first contains their views on the present. Next week, we’ll post the second part containing their predictions for what lies ahead. Enjoy. And, please let us know if you agree, disagree or simply aren’t a fan of Charles Dickens to begin with.