Sometimes, public relations professionals are asked to partner with other marketing and PR entities in order to achieve a specific objective for a client. This may include collaborating on ideas and tasks with:

  • A client’s in-house PR or marketing department
  • The promotional team for a specific event or venue
  • The marketing department for an institution involved in a client’s project (for example, a non-profit group funding the project)

Although clients don’t always realize it, these can be tricky scenarios where the old “too many cooks in the kitchen” adage often applies. Fortunately, they can be carried out successfully provided that everyone adheres to some clearly outlined protocol. That protocol should include:

Establishing a hierarchy. Before any work begins, it must be determined who will be in charge of whom throughout the course of the PR partnership. Questions to ask: Does the outside firm defer to the in-house team, or do both sides defer to the same overseer at the executive level? If the project involves partnering with a marketing department of a third party venue or institution, what is the specific chain of command? In every case, the first step toward a successful partnership is establishing who will be in charge.

Dictating responsibility. Ideally, the client will communicate a vision for who will handle the respective tasks involved with carrying out the initiative to completion. When we are asked to form PR partnerships with others in our field, we will typically raise that question in the first meeting with the other team (unless the client raises it first). When everyone understands their responsibilities from the onset, the chances of a successful initiative increase tenfold.

Respecting the other party. Once responsibilities are assigned, those roles have to be respected by both sides. If one side has an idea as to how the other side’s responsibilities should be executed, those ideas can be shared – but ultimately, it’s the other side’s decision as to whether they will be implemented. One of the most important factors in PR partnerships is respecting the roles that have been assigned by the client.

PR partnerships can be very successful for all involved, so long as the protocol is established at the beginning and followed through until the end. If your organization has PR needs that are outside of your in-house bandwidth and you wish to collaborate with an outside provider, contact Desmond & Louis Public Relations. We will be glad to help.