Chelgate’s success has been founded on a specific commitment: to provide compelling, cost-effective, accountable public relations and public affairs services of the highest professional standard appropriate to the needs of each of our clients.
This commitment is no empty slogan. The company’s dynamics and business systems are built around it. For example, the pyramid management structure typical of most PR firms has been turned on its head. There are no long lines of management delegation, no half-trained juniors learning the business at clients’ expense.
The result, quite simply, is better client service.
Our commitment in action
The way we operate at Chelgate is carefully structured to give our clients maximum control – both over quality and budgets.
With all clients, we ask for regular, programmed meetings, and these are carefully minuted, with responsibilities identified and deadlines set. Each subsequent meeting begins with a review of the minutes. We believe in accountability. Our clients know that what we promise to do, will be done.
The way we structure budgets is also designed to give clients the fairest deal and the best possible control.
We don’t usually recommend fixed monthly retainers. Any PR firm working on this basis knows that the less it does, the bigger its profit margin – and we don’t think that’s healthy.
Like many firms, we base our fees on hourly executive charges. But we put in safeguards for our clients.
The approach we recommend is called the “Min-Max”. Under this system, we agree a minimum monthly time/ fee commitment with our client. This allows us to assign, and hold available dedicated executive resources. Time over this monthly minimum is charged at our standard rates, but only up to an agreed ceiling.
If we pass that ceiling, there’s no further charge without the client’s express prior approval. But nor do we stop work when the ceiling approaches. The priority, always, has to be our clients’ welfare. Naturally, if the ceiling is heavily and consistently exceeded, we’ll want to discuss changes, either to the budget or the programme. But this is rare.
Our commitment to this system means that clients get what they pay for. It also means they can keep a rein on runaway time charges.
For each client there is a dedicated Account Director, who has responsibility for directing Chelgate’s activities for that client. He or she will be supported by whatever additional resources and expertise may be required from within the Chelgate team. But no executive ‘flies solo’ at Chelgate. In addition to the Account Director, there is always at least one other Chelgate executive familiar with the account and its special requirements.
No client is left exposed or unsupported as a result of illness or holiday. But all clients also know that if they have any concern about any aspect of their service from Chelgate Public Relations, these concerns can always be discussed with Chelgate’s Chairman, Terence Fane-Saunders.