NOTES FROM THE CHICAGO CMO ADVISORY BREAKFAST FOR PRC MEMBER USE

The following narrative are topline notes from the breakfast discussion.  For more information, please contact the PRC office. 

Topline Discussion Notes From Clients in Attendance:

Agency Competition:
Why do the agencies always seem to compete with one another? You have competing creatives, competing ideas, and competition within your own teams and departments

A lot of people make their money on who produces who, what, where and when – but the  infrastructure needs to be reorganized. There is a ‘best in class issue when it comes to creative, vs. digital vs. PR vs. media buying. This is why people have Golin as PR, Leo Burnett for advertising, because your agency is only as strong as your weakest link. Let’s face it. The creative briefing team will always get the biggest money.

There is no one perfect solution. I don’t think one agency can service all these pieces. Social agencies are more nimble and better than traditional agencies, so why put all your eggs into one basket? Maybe makes it easier on the client side, but more often than not the product you receive is less. Sometimes a smaller agency comes in better than the ‘big guys’.

You try and bring your agencies together but many times it doesn’t seem to work out. For example; you hold an all agency meeting once or twice a year. Each of the agencies get briefed at the same time to try and minimize the drama between agencies that are vying for the pie, but it doesn’t seem to work. So, the client side needs to be stronger. You need someone to drive that conversation. Your agency is only as good as how you manage them.

Sure it’s easier to have one agency but it doesn’t solve the problem. Sometimes PR can be linear, sometimes marketing can be linear. Integrated should be a better solution. The struggle is about the work. Are we doing winning work? I’m done with the agency drama. Are you a B agency, or are you an A agency?

As a client, we’ve made the agency competition/budgeting an issue for you. Every client needs to reduce their budget, but we still want the same work, but we’re not willing to pay and then you wonder why you didn’t “get it.”

How do you see PR?
The senior PR person needs access to the c-suite; but they need access to the entire c-suite. That’s how you have that successful trajectory and work on successful campaigns and work.

How can you be of the best value to the c-suite? Don’t see obstacles…. Don’t tell me what you can’t do. figure it out. Problem solve. That’s how you get it done. See opportunity where everyone else says no. Don’t limit yourself based on how you are defined by the job… go do your job and be successful and defy the barriers companies will place on you.

Know your CEO and know your C-Suite. In some places, CEO’s are not sitting down and watching a three minute video. They have no time. A millennial CEO on the other hand wants a video – but these are different styles and tactics. There is a reason 40 percent of millennials don’t read another book after college, and that golf is dying because it’s too long of a sport… every CEO is different. It’s the PR strategist’s job to figure out what that is.

You’re telling me that technology robots can form relationships?? Not a chance in hell. This is what makes a ‘PR’ person different – you own these relationships.

Data & Creativity:
I right now have more data than ever in my life … but how can I turn that data into creativity? If the creative message and strategy isn’t right, then guess what, you lose.

Creatives need space to think. Data is overwhelming. Freedom of focus is critical. Data is only as good as the insight that comes from it.

The earned mentality still ‘gets it.’ Context is key

Sometimes PR agencies are just not strategic. They fall in love with their idea, it’s not strategic and it’s not insight driven. Don’t come to me with something that doesn’t have insight.

Kill brainstorming. It doesn’t generate any ideas because the loudest voice in the room wins. Get people to come up with ideas on their word and then bring them into the room to look at them because most of the time the introverts don’t get their ideas across.

Please listen. Don’t just hear. Stop using my jargon so that I think you know what you’re talking about… listen to me and understand what I am saying. You can start with a presentation of the insights to show that you understand the insights, but then take it to the next level. Tell me something I don’t know and how I can tackle it. (Not just, oh you need to market to women.)

Purpose/CSR:
Some feel that Purpose has nothing to do with CSR.

Can diversity and philanthropy get taken out of CSR? Most seem to say no, that it should be separate.

Being true and acknowledging who you are as a company and a brand, and then doing your best work is Purpose.

For example, Southwest Airlines – I know what their purpose is… but I don’t know what their CSR is. What do they donate too? However, Starbucks’s purpose and CSR aligns. They give all of their food that is left at the end of the day to Feeding America.

Some CMO’s feel that they are seeing massive number of new partners and repeating partners, who’s’ sales numbers go up because of CSR/Purpose.

Most agree that PR should not be involved in CSR. “While I can be very supportive of your CSR and purpose issues – it is not my job… I was hired to grow your revenue.”