PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

How personalities play an important role in client agency success stories

How much time do you really spend trying to understand your client or prospect?  Or do you just crack on answering the brief or delivering against the plan, only to find that things just aren’t quite right and you don’t really know why?

Well the good news is, for those of us who don’t find themselves practicing this instinctively, that there is a science to help understand relationship- building , and it’s all around personality -type matching.

Understanding people’s personality types and matching teams and approaches to their innate preferences has been something that’s underpinned the Wildfire culture for many years.  And not only with clients and prospects, but internally as well, helping colleagues understand and work with each other better.

There are lots of ways to do this, most famously probably Myers Briggs, but if remembering four letters is too tricky, then Insights Discovery could be for you. 

There is loads of detail if you really want to get under the skin of it, but here’s my very simplified summary to give you a bit of an intro.

Essentially, everyone has one dominant colour, and is probably a mix of two. Special people can be evenly balanced, but they are rare. Perhaps the most important thing – there is no ‘bad’ colour or ‘best’ colour.

Cool Blue people are detail -focused, make considered decisions, are often introverted and will take the time to think before speaking.
Don’t: throw lots of ideas and expect immediate response, definitely don’t kiss them when greeting Do: Give them time to think, give them detail and supporting evidence. Show them your creative side, but make sure you can give the details behind your ideas
Sunshine Yellow types are often extrovert, creative, good with ideas and the big picture. They are very people-focused and foster strong working relationships.
Don’t: Give them a complicated spreadsheet or bamboozle them with lots of analytics Do: Show them lots of energy, enthusiasm and love, ask how are the kids, here’s your fave coffee. Impress by showing them you can deliver and be organised
Fiery Reds – often business leaders – these people have short attention spans,  consider options quickly and make speedy decisions.
Don’t: Waffle, give them juniors, give them too much detail, show them up in front of colleagues, or use too many superlatives - be brief, be bold, be gone! Do: Give them confidence you can deliver, gravitas not detail, tell them why an idea will be good for their business, play to their ego (subtly)
Earth Green folk are very relationship-based, they want to feel like part of a team and they want to collaborate, prove their value and nurture partnerships.
Don’t: Throw lots of things at them, don’t put them on the spot, don’t fire questions, don’t make them worry Do: Show you care, collaborate, ask them how they are feeling and how you can help them.  And find a way to ask them for feedback – they’ll never want to upset you or be proactive in giving you negative comments directly.

So, we know what personality type you are – and what your clients are. Now what?  Remember that you don’t need your team to match the personality of the client, they just need to understand them and adapt. Often, the best teams will compliment the clients’ strengths in terms of ideas or organisation, but remember not to ignore the softer personality traits, especially with Yellow or Green people. How they “feel” is massively important and that could trump even the best performing team.

In case you’re interested, I’m a Yellow/Red – which probably explains the short article and lack of extensive detail smile  If you want to know more, then I can highly recommend talking to Richard Baines at Amber Group who runs a great training course on this.

 Debby Penton is Managing Director of Wildfire PR

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: