PR Pros are People, Too

IStock_000011449643XSmallRecently a big bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates arrived at SHIFT’s offices.  When you work in Public Relations, an industry that skews heavily female, you grow accustomed to such grand displays showing up on desks throughout the agency.

But this was a little different.  The flowers and candy came from a client.  They just wanted to thank their PR team for their successful launch.

I’ve been doing this PR thing for 16+ years and I can count on two hands how many times this has happened.  Not because the account work didn’t merit it, but because the typical client just doesn’t consider such an effusive display of gratitude.  They say “THANK YOU SO MUCH!” on a tour debrief, maybe they send me a nice note lauding the team’s efforts; then they pay their invoice, and it’s on to the next project.

And that simple “Thank You” is 100% totally appropriate and fine with us.  We’ve been hired to perform a service and we are fairly compensated for the work. No further signs of appreciation are expected nor sought.

But, hey, for what it’s worth — these services are performed by people.

People like happy surprises.  They appreciate the occasional out-of-the-ordinary gesture.  They are secretly delighted to note the furtive and envious glances of their colleagues as they dig into the candy box.

The team that received that gift won’t work any less diligently for their other clients, but they will always work just a little bit harder for that client who spent $50 bucks on some candy and flowers.

Posted on: March 24, 2010 at 8:56 am By Todd Defren
10 Responses to “PR Pros are People, Too”


  • Kelly Rusk says:

    Something I miss dearly from my client services days! I think even just one client who takes the time to show you their appreciation improves the impact for ALL your clients, because that little bit of happiness spreads much further than the person who caused it. :)

  • dave fOrde says:

    Media are people too! Here’s a challenge to the industry, when is the last time you sent a “Thank You” to a journalist who’s covering the very same campaign that you are “fairly compensated” for?

    Or better, sent a press release that did NOT start with “Hey.”

  • Jamie Gorman says:

    I teach business management classes for small business owners, so of course I do surveys for feedback and get pretty good marks. But, in December I received a handwritten thank-you card from a struggling small business student – what a great encouragement! Thanks for this article.

  • Haley Barr says:

    As a soon-to-be PR professional, I understand the hard work that goes into a campaign. “Thank you” gets old sometimes, and it’s nice to receive appreciation in other ways. Even if I’m being paid for client work, I wouldn’t turn down flowers or candy.

  • Reminds me of one of the consultants on our team here at Dow Jones – I’ve worked with her for ten years and she’s always getting stuff from clients! One client sent her free ice cream about once a month, another sent free baseball caps, T-shirts, etc. Now that’s appreciation!

  • barbieprmom says:

    Even nicer than flowers is a client writing a “public” thank you and calling our firm “the best PR people in the world” on their company blog. It was unexpected; and we thought that it was the nicest thing any client has ever done. It’s really the best thank you a service provider can receive – to have a client happy with your work enough to tell the world.

  • ellen says:

    What somewhat surprises me is that this is news. No, it’s never happened to me as a PR specialist (less than four years.) Some of our longer-term clients send nice gifts at Christmas.

    Yes, the flowers did happen to me when I was a journalist and decided not to do a story. I didn’t do the story because I had decided it was a non-story. My source mistakenly believed I didn’t do the story as a favor to her, as any story I would have done would have involved a parent’s criticism of how something was handled at the school where my source was principal.

  • Everyone likes to be recognized and properly thanked for their hard work. Even though I haven’t exactly stepped out into the PR field just yet, I have taken a few college courses and have gotten a taste of everything that goes into successful PR. It’s hard. It’s a lot of work. It requires a lot of effort, time and thought. You have to be creative and quick on your feet. You have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. These individuals, above all, really deserve to be thanked. Over and over again. And well, if a bouquet of flowers is what puts a smile on their face, then do it! At least, that’s what I believe anyway. Positive relationships will benefit both parties in the long run, and the road to building a positive relationship is proper gratitude, teamwork, and honesty.

    MOS Website:
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  • Awwww, that’s great. What a motivator for that team! I recall a time in 2007 when a client let us know that SHIFT won the business by hand delivering champagne and balloons. I’ll let you guess if it made an impact on the team and how quickly they rolled up their sleeves to show them results day one. And, that client is still on board with SHIFT today. Good partnerships are based on good people.

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