By Jeff Ballif, Intern (@jeffballif)
Pitching to and signing a client is the first big win in public relations, but really it’s only the pre-game warm up. Once you sign a client, the next step is to meet with the company executives and gain a better understanding of their business plans and goals. At Fusion, we call this the ‘kick-off meeting.’ To gain a better understanding, I recently sat in on one of these kick-off meetings.
The first part of the meeting was spent with an overview of the company’s history, product lines and service offerings, followed by a demo of their product. We then discussed the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the brand and the product.
All of these elements are important to the overall strategic plan for the company’s image. PR strategists need to know these fundamentals in order to align the overall campaign with the company’s business plan.
After we had gathered the information needed, the next step was to come up with a basic message that would be the guide to the campaign; in other words, we defined the ‘who, what and why’ of the company. Setting these definitions created the backbone of both the business plan and the PR campaign. It also helps to unify the goals of the executive team and the PR team.
The kick-off meeting is an integral part of the campaign because the information gained there is what the PR team will use to get the campaign started. From there, we move to the next stage of the campaign, the daily operation and maintenance of the plan.