‘When excellence and innovation are the bare minimum’
Ryan Lynch is the director of RVL PR - A full service public relations agency with a focus on maintaining strong professional relationships with clientele, while implementing the highest in integrated marketing and press strategies to provide maximum return on investments. RVL PR provides clients with high-class strategic-communication services and offers progressive strategy-driven solutions that are always, undoubtedly, a cut above the rest.
Over the past 6 years, Ryan Lynch’s reputation as a publicist and creative consultant has grown far beyond his hometown of Australia. Now, based in London, Ryan is working with some of the biggest names in Music and Fashion. At the forefront of his inspiration, is the idea of a challenge and innovation – and with such an impressive folio of internationally recognised clients, there is no doubt that RVL PR provides ideas that are above and beyond the norm, and that the client services Ryan provides, are of an exceptional, world class standard.
Describe in three words your relationship with your clients?
Integrity – trust – valued.
Effective client relationship management is fundamental to the success of every Public Relations Agency. It is the essential ingredient to successful project delivery, which is crucial to securing future work.
The two concepts that are integral to the client relationship management process are;
- Client acquisition and retention
- Pitches and Proposals
The concepts of acquiring and retaining business, along with the intricacy involved in pitching and proposing to potential clients comes secondary to some, but are perhaps the most, crucial, imperative elements of the public relations profession.
There are so many practitioners promoting the commandments of client relationships, and giving advice on what, and what not to do when pitching and proposing. But how do we know who’s advice to take? I explored the industry secrets, first-hand, from a young, but established practitioner with undoubted and unprecedented success.
‘The Golden Rule for client relations? Never F*** Up.’ - Ry Lynch
- CLIENT ACQUISITION, AND RETENTION -
Client acquisition involves the processes and procedures used to secure the business of new clients, and retention is the concept of maintaining and preserving relationships, while withholding the clients in business partnerships. Satisfied clients tend to spend more, cost less, make valuable references, and provide long-term business.
Acquiring and retaining clients has proven to be no challenge for Ryan Lynch, with A-class customers such as Steve Aoki’s record and fashion label Dim mak, sneaker label ‘Feiyue’ and Jay Z’s Roc Nation boys – Young Guru and Tony Royster Jr. After the success and professionalism of initial campaigns, Ryan’s ability to preserve large client business has become exceptionally notable, with all clients securing long-term contracts.
What is the secret to acquiring such impressive clients?
A track record is always good, though word of mouth usually is what brings work in. I think personal touches are always important. When I write a client a personal letter I always try to hand write it. I believe it communicates that you care…. that’s all most people are looking to employ/work with; someone who cares.
All theory books, university lecturers, websites, and journals will offer advice on how to manage client relationships. They will all offer practical lessons on how to step-by-step contact, obtain, and secure clientele. But what they won’t offer you is real-life advice, without any academic or educational obstructions.
Steer away from strictly professional relationships. You have to befriend clients for them to trust you. In fashion and music the social circles are very intimate. So it’s important to really establish, and maintain solid friendships. As it’s a war out there.
When it comes to retaining clients, what is the most important skill or asset to have?
No one is going to walk away if you build loyalty. Now loyalty is a tricky one, cause its earned via non traditional methods i.e. taking a client out for a massive lunch/dinner and getting really drunk (sounds cliche, but it’s the truth). Though its sometimes measured emotionally rather then mentally.
You have contacted the client, now what?
If you can get a potential client to coffee, the next step is lunch. If they’re at lunch and you have them on the wines the jobs pretty much done.
So, the acquisition is half of the challenge – how do you keep your clients interested long term?
I have a calendar that allows me to keep up to date on all our last conversations. (Takes a little maintenance but it’s worth it.) It has all their birthdays and kids names etc. if they have told me. The main purpose behind this is to help establish a deeper rapport.
Retention is what I build that calendar around. Most people don’t leave their family doctor, because he’s built so much rapport with the family it’s not emotionally worth looking for a new one. You have to do the same with your own clients.
The notion of client retention is discussed in the book ‘Public Relations: A managerial perspective’ by Danny Moss and Barbara De Santo, whereby the author states:
“In order to retain clients, you must build relationships, establish credibility, enhance reputation and deliver excellent services” .
Agencies must be “insiders” who know the client’s business… a successful agency people will have to be able to dig deep and identify what keeps the client up at night. (Caywood, 1997)
- PITCHES AND PROPOSALS -
The art of pitches and proposals is inaugural in establishing trust within a client. No matter how great an idea you may have, if you can’t present a convincing case – you cannot sell it. Without brilliant proposals, it is it is hard to acquire or retain customers.
The RVL PR ideology revolves around the application of avant-garde thought via traditional communications. The creative direction supplied by RVL PR through pitches and proposals is based on classic and traditional communication methods, but embraces all aspects of today’s modern environment.
‘RVL PR : The Method’
” In cohesion with RVL PR ideology, implementation of our three tier service set is based upon classic and traditional methods. We believe in value addition through proven strategies, peppered with modern innovation to keep ahead of the competitive marketplace. ” (RVL PR Press Kit, 2013)
What do you believe is the most important thing to remember when pitching to a new client?
Design. You have to know your client.
If you’re working with a luxury label you make sure your presentations are minimalist, clean and on trend. If you’re not on-point with how it looks, (which is the first thing they are going to see) then you won’t be on point with the rest of the content.
As stated in by (Green, 2009) Creativity is now fundamental – ‘it should influence every part of a pitch or campaign.’ Design and creativity are essential components that help make events memorable experiences, but ‘they also have a significant role in securing the contract in the first place.’ (Berridge, 2010)
How do you go about presenting a proposal to a new client? Do you find them or let them find you?
If you provide good work, they will find you. It’s like if IMG models have all the good models, every model will want to work for IMG. So attain solid bread and butter clients and the cream clients will come.
What is your preferred method of communication?
Face to face. Tonality and feelings are lost in emails and BBM messages. It’s really important for your clients to emotionally understand things and mentally understand them. Usually they mentally know what is going on but emotionally might lack in some areas.
This idea of chemistry is explored in Introducing Public Relations: Theory and Practice’’ whereby the “critical role of chemistry” is addressed, concluding that “although pitches may be creative with good credentials, it is the personal chemistry that will win the client in the end”. This is relevant to Ryan’s approach to pitches, as he relies more on his social interactions with clients in order to gain their trust and confidence.
Has there been any pitches/proposals that have been extremely difficult to present to the client?
My first one. It was such high pressure and with limited time to turn it around. Though once I finished it. It gave me so much confidence with all the feedback I had. I knew that if I could land that one. I could continually build from it. You’re only as good as your last. And that proposal was nothing short of awesome.
Ryan’s philosophy for client relations is clean cut, fresh, young, and effective. Ryan’s methodology may seem questionable to those of a classical-business-relationship era. But in relation to key arguments and ideas presented in academic literature, RVL PR’s style is evidently supported.
RVL PR – For The Yüth – Volume 1
Client relations is a broad sector in the world of PR. It is undoubtedly clear that there is no one approach to acquiring and retaining clients. (Fincham, 1999) wrote, in terms of a shift in focus from practitioner to client, that ‘the relative power of clients and consultants in a relationship would vary according to the situation or project. ‘ This supports the idea that all practitioners have different types of relationships with their clients, and go about aquiring clients, pitching to clients, and retaining clients differently – there is no definite ‘right’ answer, more so a string of both physical and emotional tactics in order to manage client relationships best.
(Broom & Smith, 1979) Stated that ‘The reciprocal role of being “dependent upon the consultant” is popular. However, that projects developed under this role model tend to be inadequate and short-lived successes. Ryan’s contemporary idea of ’serving the client’ in both proposals – via elements like design, and in relationships is key to retaining reputable clientele and establishing a well founded agency.
Script text – Interview With Ryan V. Lynch, 10th September, 2013.