A fun and creative nod to our brand identity, these principles guide how we conduct our business and ourselves on behalf of our clients.

Here is the complete list of Plum Principles we abide by.

 


 

 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Everything communicates.

Your professional demeanor connotes your standard of working. Maintain a positive attitude, be punctual, organized and present a neat appearance. How you conduct yourself speaks volumes about how you work. What message are you sending?

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

You work for clients first, and Hornercom second.

Our company doesn’t exist without their company. Client obligations take priority over agency obligations every time. Put our clients’ interests above all else. The money we use to pay you comes from them.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Reputation is our most valuable asset.

Our agency is known for extremely high standards in delivering strategy, quality, creativity, service and results. Preserve our reputation, and that will become your reputation, too.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Ask yourself, “What is my client thinking about me today?”

Every day, consider each individual on your client roster and the many demands of their position. In that mix, have you brought recent value and – most importantly – would your client agree? If you don’t know or like your answer, better check in.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Thank your clients often.

Acknowledge that the client has chosen to work with you in a crowded field of competitors. Take every occasion—and create occasions—to show your appreciation. Their patronage makes our jobs possible.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Give clients what they ask for, and then give them something better.

Show that you listen by following direction carefully. Next, demonstrate your expertise by improving and advancing each deliverable without being asked. By showing a fresh new approach to meeting that same goal, you reinforce the value of our agency.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Email is not a conversation. Call your client.

Rely heavily on email for client dialogue and relationships disintegrate. Casual exchanges can assume unintentional tone, mistyped into the permanent record and forwarded exponentially. Let good judgment prevail regarding frequency of use; and never use email for conflict resolution.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Never deliver to a client things they could have done themselves.

When clients go “outside” and hire public relations and marketing communications counselors, they expect more: superior writing, inspired design, brilliant creative, innovative promotional products—and bigger results, faster. Otherwise, they would have done it themselves and saved the money.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Listen to that little voice in your head. 

That’s your client service instinct talking. That little voice in your head sparks ideas that bring value to your work and warns against doing something regrettable. Aren’t you sorry every time you ignore your little voice? Trust your vibes, and turn up the volume.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Give your clients an update before they ask for one.

Clients ask for updates when they are feeling uncomfortable or uncertain about progress. Don’t allow doubt to fester in your client’s mind. Instead, give them confidence that you’re on top of their project by proactively providing status reports.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Clients would rather have it late than wrong.

If for any reason the quality of your work has been compromised, ask for an extended deadline. Clients will allow more time if possible, rather than receiving a disappointing outcome, which tarnishes reputations. Otherwise, get it done right and on time.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Clients like choices. Two or more options are better than one.

Be sure to provide as many creative options at the budget allows. Clients like diverse possibilities and often the point of going “outside” and working with an agency is to provide a broader range of selections and ideas.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

When a client over-directs, you are not directing enough.

The moment a client starts providing excessive guidance, beyond establishing project parameters, then the agency is not meeting expectations. A great collaboration involves the client, but the thought leadership should come from you.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Interrupt what you’re doing to take a client call.

Unless you are engaged with another client, run don’t walk to the telephone when your clients beckon. They should feel that important, because they are. As long as you’re in the building, you are available.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Interrupt what you’re doing to take a media call.

Media are clients. Run don’t walk to the telephone when the media calls. Our long-standing and respectful relationships with the media are often why clients hire us. Media should feel that important, because they are. As long as you’re in the building, you are available.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Publicity is the #1 deliverable of any PR firm.

Some of the biggest media opportunities are outside the boundaries of any campaign. Read, watch and listen to the news throughout the day. Proactively present opportunities for your clients to receive positive news coverage and to maximize current media trends. Even clients of our other agency services may appreciate your media savvy.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

When deadlines are missed, confidence erodes.

When confidence erodes, business eventually follows. Deadlines are promises. Keep your promises, and clients will learn that your word is a bond. Blow their trust and you will be perceived as an unreliable, expendable member of their team.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Acknowledge problems quickly and with solutions in hand.

Clients understand that circumstances beyond our control may reset the course of their work. They may even be forgiving of occasional human error. Never follow one mistake with another. And never should a client learn of a problem casually or from someone other than their agency account manager, who also must immediately deliver solutions.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Never surprise your client.

Great client-agency partnerships should always deliver peace of mind and comfort to the client, never jarring moments. Exceeding your budget, breaching the client’s protocol—both are areas of which to be particularly mindful. Even pleasant surprises should be preceded by a phone call.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Read everything once, twice, thrice.

And then have someone else read it before it leaves the agency. Clients often entrust the agency with communications on their behalf; avoidable errors diminish confidence. Typos and other contextual errors are an unforgivable sign of carelessness and makes the account team look green.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

You’re not paid to agree. Offer an opinion.

Be prescriptive. Convert your diverse agency experiences into recommendations willfully. If you have a new, different or better approach to initiatives large and small, inside or outside your purview, it’s your obligation to speak up.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Never let a second week pass without contacting your client.

As a service provider, it’s incumbent upon you to reach out and establish regular contact with the client. You’re more likely to receive valuable feedback on your current work, and more likely to learn about additional opportunities.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Monday, tell clients what you’ll be doing for them that week. 

Friday, tell them what you did.

Get on the same page with your client about goals for the week, then head into the weekend with an update. Doing so will help your ongoing client-agency dialogue be more productive, plus the client will be assured that you are “on it.”

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Time is money. Budget and spend it wisely.

Discuss cost estimates upfront to assure that the client’s budget, workscope and expectations align. If the client changes direction or increases the work, revisit the budget immediately. Otherwise, you risk surprising your client or doing a very expensive favor.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Proactively set deadlines.

Projects die without them. Any work without a delivery date is always displaced by projects whose deadlines were firmly established. And the projects without deadlines will go from low priority to no priority. If the client doesn’t have a firm deadline, establish one anyway.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

When clients stop getting new ideas, they go agency shopping.

No matter how long or how good the client-agency relationship, the client is paying to keep it fresh. Challenge the account team, change up the account team, expand the account team—do whatever it takes to deliver ongoing value in the way of new ideas.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

If you can’t do it, another agency will. Make it “yes.”

Professional service firms put their client relationship at risk when they cannot overcome any and all barriers to service client needs and requests. Making the seemingly impossible possible will provide the defining moments of your client relationship.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Give clients your undivided attention.

Every client knows that agencies service multiple clients. However, no client ever wants to hear about your other client projects. Never interrupt one client for another, and never give the impression, implied or otherwise, that one client’s project deadline has been adversely affected by another.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Choose vendors as though your reputation depends on it.

Clients empower us to make the best supplier choices for each project. Vendors that adhere to our strict quality and service standards make great collaborators. Those that don’t, jeopardize our reputation, since their work is a product of our agency.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Clients don’t want to see you making sausage.

Communications is an art not a science. Challenging or unexpected situations may occasionally arise, internally or externally, that make projects difficult to pull off. Our commitment is that such hurdles will be invisible to the client, even if they keep us hopping.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

The ball is never in the client’s court.

Even if the action item is on the client’s side; the deliverable of success is still yours. Do not rest or delay excessively. Holding patterns lead to stall outs. Rather, reclaim the initiative and personally see tasks through.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Initiate the difficult conversation.

No matter how challenging the topic, it’s incumbent on the agency account manager to initiate even the difficult conversations with the client. The longer issues go unaddressed, the larger the issue will become—and the more difficult to resolve.

 


 

PLUM PRINCIPLE

Working hard on the wrong things can still cost you the client.

Don’t let sidebar client projects sideline the client’s primary communications goals. As new opportunities and requests arise, remember why the client hired the agency in the first place.

How Can Hornercom Partner With You?

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