Today, I reflected on an interview my then-singer-songwriter client, Crystal Nicole, did a few years ago with a mainstream romance website on why love songs are so much more successful in the United States than they are overseas. Nicole was a 26-year-old Grammy-winning artist who had written for such artists as Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Natasha Bedingfield, the interviewer was a middle-aged Caucasian male with an obvious bias against contemporary urban music. The interview spanned from what makes love songs unique to the responsibility of the artist and songwriter in relation to music. Their conversation spanned across decades and genres and my client was able to effectively communicate her points while drawing the reporter into her perspective and penchant for music. By the end of the interview, my client had undoubtedly won the reporter over and he immediately emailed me asking for ways in which he could support my client’s musical efforts.
Earlier that day another multi-Grammy Award-winning client, TLC’s Chilli sat through a tedious radio media tour discussing education in relation to a major brand and their efforts to support both public and private schools. While reporter after reporter fired questions at her, she maintained her polished exterior, knowing when to pull the interviewer in with humor and when to segue into the very strategic messaging the brand paid her to deliver. After a three hour stint with over twenty interviews, the brand representative called me asking if they could twist my client’s arm in doing an additional major interview on behalf of the brand.
Needless to say, the day was a particularly rewarding one, especially for my agency Enchanted PR. While I would love to credit my superior media consulting skills for my clients’ ability to conduct themselves, I can’t take credit for the entire scope of the victory. Yes, I do go to great lengths to media train my clients and coach them on interviews, all my media coaching skills wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans without the “right” client. In saying the “right” client, I am referring to a client who possesses the ability to reach a consumer outside their target demographic. Some call it commercial appeal. Some call it having great business sense and others refer to it as talent. I say it’s a bit of all three components mixed into one that creates the “right” client for my agency.
I’ve heard many PR practitioners say finding a client with commercial appeal can be a daunting task. I don’t think it has to be. Commercial appeal doesn’t necessarily refer to a particular look, but in my opinion is the ability to relate their look to a mass audience. For example, Lady Gaga isn’t an artist that looks like the majority of pop artists, but she is an artist that is able to clearly express her artistry so that a mass audience understands and accepts her. The key to commercial appeal isn’t in following the trend but rather being able to connect your client’s image to an audience that doesn’t look like or act like said artist. The commercial appeal lies in the ability to achieve acceptance.
Now finding clients with an great sense of business, on the other hand can be challenging. During conversations with my clients, I explain to them my reasoning and the strategy behind various interviews and partnerships/opportunities our agency secures for them. It takes a client with big dreams and lofty career goals to be able to value the strategy behind our efforts. If a client’s greatest career objective is to cover a pop magazine, there isn’t much I can do for the client and in turn there are few ways my agency can be successful through that client. Connecting with clients whose long-term goals allow for PR to do what it does best, shape and mold public image to create opportunities is key in being a successful agency.
The term talent is relative. What I consider talent may or may not necessarily be what another PR practitioner considers talent. I believe that if a PR practitioner is able to effectively communicate a client’s talent then that is the right client for them. Today my client Crystal Nicole’s talent and dedication to her craft allowed her to participate in a discussion that had little to do with the lyrics she wrote for Mary J. Blige’s latest single, but instead spoke to her knowledge of the history of music. Because I am familiar with Crystal Nicole’s background, I knew I could pitch her for an interview outside of the usual pop/urban music magazine or blog site. I knew that her talent would enable her to connect with an audience outside of her targeted demographic. In similar fashion, Chilli’s talent for relating to others and being able to simplify concepts in a girl-next-door fashion made her a perfect fit for a brand looking to connect with mothers and families across cultural backgrounds. Yes both clients possess undeniable talent, but its my ability to define that talent within a pitch that makes the fit a perfect one.
As I have grown as a PR practitioner and worked with numerous clients in various backgrounds and genres of business, I’ve learned that recruiting a new client to my roster dictates the path my agency will take towards achieving national success. It is imperative that our agency recruits clients that have career goals and aspirations that correlate with the way Enchanted PR practices PR theory and inevitably our goals have to have common ground. I look forward to working with clients who are looking to grow and want to speak to an audience that far exceeds what they see when they look in the mirror. We want to recruit clients that believe in our mission statement of creating “fairy-tale endings” where the possibilities are endless. Those are the clients that will create the greatest PR for us and, in turn, yield a mutual success.