Beverly B. Media and Communications

These Boots Were Made For Walking: When to Walk Away From A Client

By Beverly B. Media and Communications

Paula Deen’s PR rep did it, Charlie Sheen’s rep did it, and so did Chris Brown’s. What did they do? They parted ways with their famous clients.

PR agents are often given a bad rap, portrayed as heartless and selfish spin doctors called in to clean up the public messes of their spoiled clients. While this may be true for some–like in any profession–it is not true for all. There are many PR agents that are willing to walk away from the all mighty dollar.

In a tough economy when should you walk away from a client? Here are my 3 reasons.

Save Yourself

Before a plane takes off passengers are given instructions to help in their survival in case of an emergency. Passengers are told if the air masks fall one must put their mask on before assisting another passenger. When a clients actions or continued actions go from threatening their reputation to now destroying your company’s good name it is time to part ways. If not careful a drowning man in their panic will drag down the one trying to rescue them. Don’t drown.


A small word with such a big meaning, ethics is defined as moral principles. What does your mission statement say? What is your code of conduct for your organization? Know that your statement and code is more than words–or at least it should be. When a client comes in direct conflict with the ehics of your organization it’s time to evaluate the relationship. If you contine to represent someone whos actions is totally oposite of who YOU say your are, it reflects worse on you than the other person you can be perceived as a hypocrite. Often if you are a hypocrite in one area you are a hypocrite in other areas. Don’t be a hypocrite.

No longer on the same page

Soon after news broke that celebrity chef Paula Deen suffers from type 2 diabetes and kept it secret for some time, her PR rep Nancy Assuncao, said good-bye to Deen.  Assuncao didn’t walk away due to Deen’s illness she walked away because of the timing in which the announcement was made. You see, the announcement coincided with Paula Deen’s plans to endorse Novo Nordisk, a diabetes drug. After six years of representing the butter-loving cook Assunacao stated to the New York Post back in January, “I’m very grateful for the six years that I worked with Paula in helping her build the Deen brand.

“Although we had a great deal of fun along the way, I could not agree with the new business strategy going forward. Nonetheless, I wish them continued success.”

When your clients have decided to go in a direction you don’t agree with it’s okay love them and leave them. Often times you will regret going down a road you knew in your gut was the wrong way.


Breaking up is hard to do, however sometimes it is necessary to do.




4 comments on “These Boots Were Made For Walking: When to Walk Away From A Client

  1. NPJ Communications
    April 12, 2012

    Excellent post, Beverly. We are all in this industry to ultimately make a profit but to risk your reputation and future on one client would be silly. Still, preventing your client from going down that sticky path is part of our job. We should do all we can to help before it gets to that point.


  2. beverlybcommunications
    April 13, 2012

    NPJ, thanks for the comment. I agree that is the reason we get paid the “big” bucks, but sometimes some people don’t want to be saved. Like Charlie Sheen some people love the chaos they create.

  3. There are also those times when clients only take half the advice, or come to us way to late in the crisis. I clicked on this article because I have a client situation I’m wondering about. After a year together, maybe the client takes you for granted, or they don’t appreciate you. Its hard when clients become your friends, but we have to remember its a business too. If a client isn’t making progress, then its a reflection our effectiveness too.

    • beverlybcommunications
      April 21, 2012

      Laura I hope this article helped a little bit with your situation. It is tough when a client becomes a friend, but a TRUE friend tells you when your’re wrong. I believe you can be firm and direct without affecting the friendship. If the client is not making progress it is time to re-evalute the partnership.

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This entry was posted on April 5, 2012 by in The going ons and tagged , , , , , , .

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