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Doing more with less: when ‘client-centricity’ matters most

At a time when companies face continued downward pressure on operational expenditure, doing ‘more with less’ is becoming a fact of life

Angela MahaneyThere has been a trend for some time in the pharmaceutical industry toward leaner staffing models, yet companies are still expected to continue delivering the same level of key business initiatives. Many companies rely more and more on external contractors, freelancers and agencies to support them – all who will claim to be ‘client-centric’ in nature. But what is ‘client-centricity’ and how do you know that these claims will translate into reality?

Immerse yourself in the business

As external organisations, we hear time and time again, ‘we don’t need a vendor, but a trusted partner, a team who can act as an extension of our business’. So as agencies, we should immerse ourselves in the business knowing the challenges you face, the broader environment you function in and the organisational context you operate in. This allows us to step in not just with the brilliant basics, but to add value and deliver impact for your company. In some situations, this level of engagement for agencies leads to secondment opportunities.

Be a true partner

Client-centricity doesn’t just pertain to the external organisation, but to the individuals working as part of the overall team day in and day out. After all, we are all human. At a time when industry people are being asked to do not just a full-time job but the work of multiple people with limited resource, you need support not just around your company’s objectives, but your personal objectives as well. So, when external agencies say they will act as an extension of you, what does this mean? Agencies should make it their business to not only know what your business is trying to achieve but your role in that effort. They should make sure the wider business impact being made also highlights your success as well – either internally through strong measurement reports and highlight reels to showcase with senior management or externally through award submissions for industry recognition.

Earn trust to deliver

Trust is at the heart of a good client relationship and acts as a valuable asset for all institutions. It builds confidence by proving agencies can be trusted to get things done, in the right way. The Edelman Trust Barometer is all about earning trust. We often use our annual survey results to inform client programmes. For example, who are your most trusted spokespeople within the organisation? In 2018, results found the most trusted ‘voices
of authority’ to be technical and academic experts. However, the role of earning trust typically starts by delivering on operational excellence. We leverage insights from research to deliver high-quality work that is valuable and relevant to the client and internal stakeholders, including leadership, offering a clear context to show the impact of our work.

Offer fresh thinking

When you are so focused on delivering the daily work,  where do you get fresh thinking? Agencies often have experience beyond health, so they can  bring the outside in – looking beyond current pharmaceutical thinking or sharing how  they’ve handled similar issues in other industries. For example, an approach for technology, consumer brands or sustainability programmes  may offer new insights into the pharmaceutical industry, among global health programmes or within general health and wellness.

At the end of the day, joining in our clients’ enthusiasm for their business and showing our commitment to help solve problems together with them is at the centre of all we do. As the industry continues to evolve, agencies will need to not just talk about ‘client-centricity’, but live it.

Angela Mahaney is a Senior Director at Edelman Health, a leading global communications marketing firm helping business and organisations evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. She has an innate interest in client-focused business and can be reached for questions or comment at

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26th June 2018

From: Marketing



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