ANALYSIS: THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION - Should you date your client?

Press reports have linked Matthew Freud with his client, BSkyB executive, Elisabeth Murdoch

Press reports have linked Matthew Freud with his client, BSkyB

executive, Elisabeth Murdoch

Graham McMillan, Fishburn Hedges

’These things can happen with clients and it is impossible to legislate

against them. If it does happen the important thing is you have to be as

open, honest and responsible about dealing with it as possible.

People may not trust your decisions or judgement if they feel you may

have been influenced by your extra-curricular activity. I wholeheartedly

recommend dating people from rival consultancies, but not everyone has

to go as far as I have and marry one!’

Alison Clarke, Shandwick Welbeck

’It depends on which comes first - the client or the date! I cannot

recommend starting a relationship with an existing client because it

will only end in tears. How can you have frank candid debates - where

both parties may not agree - and not allow that to spill into your

private lives. It will be a recipe for disaster, either for the

relationship, the consultancy’s income, or both.’

Quentin Cowdry, Paragon Golin/Harris

’I wouldn’t date a client, for all the obvious reasons, including the

very pragmatic one that romantic liaisons can be more short-lived than

business relationships.

But I wouldn’t censure anyone for allowing the cardinal passion of love

to override the more superficial pleasure of work.’

Catherine Warne, GCI Healthcare

’I cannot think of anything that would cause more stress between client

and agency. I would not work for a member of my family either.

I would certainly not turn down business due to personal relationships,

but I would ask a senior colleague to handle that account. Pillow talk

can cause all sorts of problems.’

Julia Cole, Relate

’Dating a client in any circumstance is generally a bad idea. Not only

are you in danger of boring each other to death by talking about your

latest campaign, but may find that colleagues regard you as pariahs, and

definitely not to be trusted with company gossip in case you exchange it

in pillow talk. Other clients are also likely to believe that you’re not

interested in them, and debunk - with their cheque books. Ultimately,

dating your client could work, but only if you want them as exclusive

clients, so pick a rich one!’

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