Lesley LindbergLesley Lindberg: Both our businesses, Williams Lea and TAG, had not traditionally used PR as part of their marketing mix so it was very important to us that we handled the selection process with a degree of rigour so we could breed some trust within the company, and we needed some guidance really just to make sure we were looking in the right place for the right agency.

Lesley Lindberg: They helped us in three ways really: firstly, process.  They really guided us through the steps of selection, how we should approach that, what to do when, how to handle the process.  They also gave us perspective, perspective because this is what they do.  They’ve seen lots of agencies, lots of clients, they brought best practice to us and that perspective was very useful and they also gave us and the agencies a great deal of coaching which was probably the most valuable aspect.  It wasn’t always visible to us, lots of behind the scenes coaching with the agencies, making sure they had interpreted the briefs correctly, making sure they best delivered as best they could against that brief, and they coached us on how to handle the sessions and how to get through that process in a way that we were really getting what we wanted from the PR agencies.

Lesley Lindberg: One of the ways Oystercatchers helped us which I wasn’t expecting was they helped us manage our internal stakeholders, particularly my boss who is new to PR.  This is a new development for him and the company, he is new in his role, so to be able to have that expertise and some advice as well as confirming that we were doing well in the process was really helpful.

Lesley Lindberg: After the selection process we worked with Oystercatchers on the bedding in process and really that entailed initially some internal stakeholder interviews with our senior board just to flesh out what issues, what challenges, what prejudices we were going to come up against as we went into working together.  They also established a process how we were going to work with Weber, who was going to do what within Williams Lea both business line level, regional level, and central level as well as with the agency.  And there’s also always a moment after the euphoria of selecting an agency where you think ‘what now?’ and I feel confident that we have clarity over who’s going to do what, and we really understand our key stakeholder issues and how we’re going to handle those to embed Weber into really adding value to our business.

Lesley Lindberg: A great partnership for me must have clarity around what you’re trying to achieve together and who’s going to do what to make that happen.  It must be thoughtful, I think with an agency understanding our business it’s important for them to understand our business, it’s important for them to be able to understand the context in which the team is working and be thoughtful about what they can bring to us to help us with those challenges and it must have chemistry.  These must be people that you want to work with, you want to hang out with, and you want to do great work together with and you’re excited about that.