“No man is an island…and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
In John Donne’s Meditation 17, he emphasizes the interconnectedness of mankind. It’s also a pretty accurate metaphor for our culture here at Obsidian PR. You see, although each client is officially represented by ONE Obsidian staffer, that client also has the ideas, expertise and experience of the entire agency in its corner. That’s because no account rep is “an island.”
As you may have read about in a previous “From the Rock” post, group brainstorming is a pretty major part of what we do here at Obsidian. There are many times that brainstorming among the entire Obsidian staff might be used for a client:
- When the relationship starts, to get everyone’s input on broad things, like overarching goals, or more specific things, like story pitching ideas or social media tactics
- When the client is starting a new initiative or event and the account rep wants to consider ALL ideas for promoting, helping plan and execution
- When the client has a problem or issue and needs our help overcoming the challenge
- When the client wants some ideas for a tagline or new company or product name
I can tell you as an account rep who has handled several of these types of projects, it is a major asset to the work I do to have our team providing input, guidance and feedback.
In addition to the formal brainstorming, there are many other ways that Obsidian functions as a unit, preventing any account rep from ever being the sole person servicing a client.
Both the Dallas and Memphis locations have a manager of the team who keeps an eye on all client work from an aerial view, providing guidance and ideas to the account rep that she might not have seen from where she is “on the ground” executing tactical work.
Yet another example of how Obsidian fosters a great community and group dynamic is how we are all able to fill in for each other when needed. For example, if an account rep is going to be out of town during an important client event, he will transition all of the materials, from the publicity timeline to the contact list and the event planning notes, to another account rep, and that account rep will execute the last-minute promotional tactics, attend the event to field media, coordinate timing as needed, etc. Each account rep will ensure that client work is taken care of (by other staffers, if needed) while out of the office.
But sometimes things come up for a client, such as a media crisis, that can’t be predicted, which has actually happened with a client while the account rep was out of town. Fortunately, Obsidian’s culture is such that the team manager was totally up to speed on the client’s issue, and the other account executives had a solid foundation of information about the client from all the collaborative activities we had done. The team manager and the other account executive tag-teamed the crisis and handled it seamlessly while the original account rep was 1,500 miles away.
I also like Donne’s advice not to “send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” He was talking about death, but I look at it in a more abstract and therefore positive way. I equate a bell tolling to when we have had a great success for a client, such as a front-page news story. Even if it wasn’t one of MY personal clients, I am still excited for the success of one of OUR clients, and one of OUR account reps. So that bell…it still tolls for me.