Matt and I are often sought out by PR students and others new to the industry on topics such as running a firm and overall ethics. I was recently asked how our organization handles client trade; in other words, in-kind compensation.
While such an arrangement can be worked out many different ways, at Tanner Friedman, we always make sure “trade” goes to benefit the “greater good”—in other words, the entire agency and all that work within it.
For a non-profit organization holding an event, for example, we tend towards a model where we are compensated in dollars for a portion of the work and then “in kind” dollars are leveraged in high-profile ways, such as logos on an invitation, event signage and/or program ads that promote the firm.
On the other end of the spectrum, some firm principals might instead earmark airline miles or restaurant trade only for their use or their family members. It does happen. However, I would argue that, instead, this trade should be provided to top performers throughout the agency as extra perks, incentives and bonuses.
After all, in building morale and a team approach, “all for one and one for all” can ring quite hollow when only one or two are enjoying the fruits from the labor of many.