Collaborating with other PR agencies is both rewarding and challenging – especially when working with international teams, it can certainly teach you a thing or two about effective communication.
Since SHIFT is part of a global network, my team often collaborates with our sister agencies, Toronto-based NATIONAL and London-based Madano. It’s been a great learning experience to collaborate within our network and has taught us how to effectively communicate to support global PR programs.
Here are a few tips that have helped us effectively collaborate with teams around the world:
SHARE IT ALL
It’s helpful to keep all client resources in an easy-to-access location as soon as you begin working together. Google Docs are a fan favorite on our team, as they allow for multiple team members to access and edit one document at the same time. This has become especially helpful when putting together agendas for our weekly client calls that detail everything from upcoming events and campaigns to media relations updates to pending projects and more. Allowing both teams to access the agenda and provide updates on individual activity at the same time gives us the flexibility to do so when it’s most convenient for our schedules, versus having to wait to receive an updated word doc from one team member and vice versa.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
When working with another agency, it’s important to be mindful of anything that might hinder your ability to communicate, from time differences to other client priorities to holidays and observances. For example, when working on time-sensitive deliverables for one of our clients, we had to ensure that we were sharing materials and setting deadlines that accommodated our five-hour time difference. Because we are not physically working together in the same location, it’s impossible to know about unexpected conflicts that could impact our daily priorities without constant communication. At the end of the day, it’s better to over-communicate than end up on different pages in front of the client.
MAKE TIME FOR FACE-TIME
Working in separate offices can sometimes create a disconnect. When you’re not seeing someone face-to-face throughout the week, it’s natural to forget to check-in from time to time or be mindful of their workload or other account priorities. Take the chance to get off email every so often and opt for a video conference instead. This way, you’ll be able to feel more connected and bounce ideas off one-another in a way that isn’t as natural over the phone or via email. Even better, take this as an opportunity to visit a new place and office. Having the opportunity to see first-hand how another office operates and works together is really valuable and can offer new perspective on how to best collaborate going forward.
After all, you’re all working toward the same goal – set aside some time to brainstorm with your counterparts and develop fresh pitch ideas. Both teams at NATIONAL and Madano offer a unique perspective, especially being in different countries, and have helped us switch up our thought process when it comes to media relations. Take advantage of the individual creativity of your team members to make sure that you’re constantly coming up with smart ideas.