How to Be A Good Client (and Agency)
The art of the client/agency relationship
By Kelly Fry, MarCom Membership Chair
Agency creatives and account staff (whether it be advertising, public relations, design, etc.) earn their living building brands, implementing campaigns and coming up with “The Big Idea.”
But without clients, an agency is nothing but great lighting and fancy computers. A good relationship results in stronger brands, satisfied partners and loyalty. A bad relationship causes heartache, missed deadlines and frustration.
Here are a few guidelines on how to get the most from the relationship:
1. Value Ideas
A man walks into a bar and sees a master artist sketching on a napkin.
The man asks the artist “How much for your drawing?”
“Priceless,” The artist replies.
The man is aghast, “But it only took you two minutes!”
“No,” replies the artist, “This took my whole life.”
The value of working with an agency is the combined experience, talent and expertise to formulate and follow through on the “Big Idea.”
2. Keep Everyone Accountable
To ensure successful campaigns, make sure you establish clear expectations and objectives together for the project, that agency deliverables are purposeful and that together you regularly reassess efforts to ensure effectiveness.
4. Let the Agency “Behind the Curtain”
If your agency team doesn’t fully understand your business, challenges or goals, the strategy will be off point, or worse, ineffective.
5. Try to Use “Approved” Only When “Approved”
When agencies hear “approved,” ads get submitted and vendors get booked. Help limit backtracking by only using “approved” with absolute certainty. This saves you time and ultimately, billable hours.
6. Understand That Everyone is Human
Agencies aim to over deliver. But behind those plans, presentations and progress reports are people—who like everyone—will make mistakes. A great agency works to minimize errors, but know that the people who make up an agency are only human.
7. Adopt an “As You Would Like to Be Treated” Policy
Your agency should respect you, work hard for you, care about your business and deliver excellence again and again. Insist on a mutual commitment to “treat each other as your would like to be treated” to take the relationship from good to great.