PRmoment Awards Tickets 2024 PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North

Changing client/agency relationships

There are changes afoot in PR agency/client relationships, as according to a recent survey conducted by research agency Question and Retain (Q&R) amongst PR professionals, nearly half (46%) believe that the way clients and agencies work together will change of lot or completely. The survey also looked at the types of communication campaigns that are most effective, and this threw up surprising results in terms of social media campaigns, as these are not considered by most to offer great returns on investment.

Agency perspective

Jill Coomber, founder and director of PR and digital marketing agency OneChocolate describes the key trends she is noticing in the evolution of client/agency relationships: “Digital is changing in-house now as much as it has changed agencies in the past five years.

“Things are changing faster. Influencer relations, for example, have been a key hot topic over last 12-18 months and went from mythical skill to standard tool in the timeframe. 

“However, we all need to be careful in trying to keep up with the marketing equivalent of ‘buzzword bingo’ as lack of knowledge can lead to poor implementation and disappointing real results, ie the ones that really matter to the business.

“Fundamentally, the core values of a good client/agency relationship are the same.  The agency needs to bring skillsets to table that the client wants and for whatever reason doesn’t have. The best relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. There is always good chemistry and a shared vision and values. And a damn fine team across both sides. That never changes.”

Most effective campaigns

When it comes to the type of PR work that offers greatest returns on investment, good, old editorial coverage still comes out on top. Around one-third of respondents (30%), say that the best rewards come from appearing in editorial either online or in traditional media. This is closely followed by stakeholder or influencer work, with 28% saying this provides the best returns. However, social media investment does not seem to be such a wise choice if you are looking for your money’s worth, as just 2% of respondents say that social media investment provides great value for money.

In terms of the future, it looks like more of the same, in terms of what generates best results, but all change when it comes to how agencies and clients work together.


Around 800 Senior Agency MDs and In-House leads were suveyed. The Pulse ran for one week from 18 to 25 October 2017.

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: