Account retention vital for PR world in survival mode

Rivals flirt with clients on social media, says Slattery’s head of consumer business

Graeme Slattery:  retaining clients is at least as important as winning new ones

Graeme Slattery: retaining clients is at least as important as winning new ones

 

In public relations, as in life, compliments can take on a strategic quality.

“We can see some competitors flirting with our clients on Twitter and that ruffles feathers a bit,” says Graeme Slattery, director of consumer PR at Slattery Communications. “They directly compliment brands you represent on Twitter.”

In the fee-hungry PR agency game, retaining clients is at least as important as winning new ones.

“They want to dip their toes and see what else is out there,” says Slattery of clients seeking re-pitches.

Although he is upbeat about the outlook for the sector this year, it remains “tough” to turn a profit. “It’s still survival mode – that’s why it’s very important to retain your clients. It’s hugely important, psychologically, to the team as well.”

Over the last 18 months, Slatterys has retained Nando’s and Rehab People of the Year and has also landed accounts for Sky Ireland, Molson Coors, Puma and Gala.

While handling the PR for Sky’s broadband can’t have hurt, Slattery says much of the growth in the sector is driven by the increase in digital communications.


‘Totally explosive’
“New budgets are being created by digital communications. Regardless of whether your client has a presence on social media, it’s going to play out on social media,” he says, citing the horsemeat scandal.

“Any kind of comment can be totally explosive to your brand. A brand manager might say something in response to an off-kilter question or comment, and all of a sudden it’s world war three.”