– Jason Sprenger – President, Game Changer Communications

Last month, my firm (Game Changer Communications) celebrated its four-year anniversary.  As I often do at times like that, I reflected on a lot of things about my business – successes, challenges, key milestones and more.  This particular anniversary also got me thinking about the qualities I most value in a client.  Over 4+ years, what are the characteristics of a company that make them most likely to succeed in administering and executing a PR program – or succeeding and thriving in general?  The more I thought about it, the more parallels I saw between these traits’ impact on success in PR and success in general across the business, whether it’s intellectual property law, or lead generation, or finance, or pretty much anything else.  And the more I realized that companies with these qualities in place are the ones best positioned for short and long-term success.  So I think they’re worth submitting here for your consideration, and to encourage you to look for them as you enter into your business relationships.

Here are some of the most essential qualities I identified:

  • Clear, crisp value statements. The companies who succeed are often the ones who can most clearly and succinctly explain who they are, what they do and what makes them stand out from the rest.  But then they take it to the next level too, tying that back to the wants and needs of their customers and proving to them why they truly need them.  This of course pertains to a company’s products and/or services, but it also relates to culture; it’s one thing to be the best, it’s another to assert that to the marketplace in a way that resonates with your stakeholders and comes across as confident yet not arrogant.
  • An openness to new ideas and ways of thinking. As so many wise people have said, the only constant in our world is change.  I’ve seen many a chief executive, a marketing team and/or a company be so set in their course that they don’t listen to a word I say, or they discount their team, or they ignore trends in the marketplace that affect their business and their stakeholders.  It’s led me to believe that the abilities to listen well and adapt are as essential to success as anything.  Whether or not my clients ultimately act upon the counsel I offer, I always appreciate when they’re at least willing to listen and take my perspective into account.
  • Good financial management. You’d be shocked how many times in four years I’ve not been paid on time, or not been paid at all.  Beyond the obvious considerations of ethics, decency and making ends meet, these sorts of actions make an outside partner question their worth to the organization that’s hired them.  Even more, cash flow and/or other financial issues often compound, pitting vendors against one another and ultimately creeping into everyday work.  We’re always at our best when we’re focused as much as possible on the work we’re doing, and not these kinds of things.
  • A human element. People make buying decisions on emotion and relationships.  As such, the more a company, product or service can be humanized – or have the message being delivered by actual people with actual faces – the more likely it is to stick and thrive.  The more charismatic, genuine people who can act as spokespeople, the better.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on other qualities that lead to productive, mutually beneficial vendor relationships – and that make for successful businesses.  Thanks as always for reading and participating!