I’m Sick. I’m Tired. But You Can’t Be Sick and Tired of Client Expectations.
May 16, 2016
This blog post is being written in the dead of night while I enter Day 3 of being incredibly sick. I haven’t been to the doctor yet but I imagine it’s the worst virus they’ve ever seen and it’s just a matter of days – not weeks – before my family is reaping the benefits of my life insurance policy. If this is indeed my last blog post, I kindly ask someone to erase my Google search history.
When I’m sick, it’s not a secret. Everyone knows about it. “When is the interview, you ask? Couldn’t tell you. I’m dying.” I don’t know the producer who handles the news scroll on CNN, but if I did, I’d probably pitch him that “Sources: Jason is dying. In lieu of flowers, Jason has requested Coldplay at his funeral.”
The problem is when you catch a virus from someone around you, you’ve had a front-row seat to how they dealt with it. There’s a good chance one of two BPR-Denver employees had this same virus the last two weeks and they probably acted about 50x less dramatic than I have been. There’s a stereotype that all men are babies when they’re sick. But I refuse to apologize for how I handle my body fighting disease. Just because this Black Lung hits my body hard, doesn’t mean I should tailor my response to how others react.
The same applies to clients. One could react to a deliverable or media opportunity with the upmost jubilation. It could be the highlight of their company’s PR efforts, getting circulated in a company-wide newsletter.
That same opportunity could be met with a collective yawn by another client. They’re not wrong in their reaction. Just different.
Expectations have never been uniform in PR. Some clients are happy with a few impressions on their latest smart widget. Others could wrap up a media tour of 24 of the top 25 media outlets in New York, but still be upset that you couldn’t book Horse & Hound for a deskside. And while it might cause you to stare at that client with The People’s Eyebrow, they can’t be blamed for how they handle the situation. Maybe expectations weren’t level-set in the early stages of the relationship. Or perhaps they just really wanted Horse & Hound. Whatever the case, they can’t be dinged for not reacting the same as another client.
It’s up to the communications partner to view each partnership differently. Get a feel for the respective client and understand how they approach news – both good and bad. While we sometimes wish we could cut and paste our easier clients across all accounts, life doesn’t offer a CTRL C or CTRL V option.
What I’m trying to say is I’m really sick, my face hurts and it wouldn’t kill my co-workers to launch a KickStarter campaign for Chris Martin to sing Fix You at my wake while crying harder than Vada Sultenfuss at the end of My Girl.