Branding, Relations and Love
How to work with your agency to get the best results.
Say the word “relationship” and you’ll receive varied reactions. Some find themselves involuntarily spinning back to high school, where relationships were often one-sided, requiring you to stand in someone’s front lawn just before midnight holding a stereo that blasts messages of love and devotion.
In business, it’s different. One-sided relationships don’t generally last. Good relationships, however, are the ones that are between two equals working together for a common goal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way. To provide some help, we’ve decided to field some letters from our Branding Loveline – where clients and agencies from all over the country have been writing in:
I’ve been with my new client for almost four months now and I still think he’s holding back on me. Every time we talk I find out something new – things I wish I had known from the beginning! On top of that, he’s starting to be overly critical of me, scrutinizing everything I do! Something is going wrong and I don’t know what to do!
– Signed, Crushed Out Campaign in Cincinnati
Our response: We understand how you feel. All relationships require trust, and the relationship between agency and client is no different. In order to produce the most effective work, an advertising agency must be informed. Clients need to disclose everything about their business from daily numbers all the way up to strategic long-range plans. Good advertising agencies are looking to be more than just another vendor. Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to create a compelling campaign that has a moving target!
Well, there is one thing that can be as frustrating – having the client second-guess every move you make. Advertising agencies need to be given room to express their creativity and strategy. Facing a client that constantly feels they know better is demoralizing. It may be time to move on!
I’m very adventurous, always willing to try new things, and constantly pushing myself to take on challenges creatively. My new client… well, she’s sort of on the safe side. How do we make this work?
– Signed, New Solutions in Nova Scotia
Our response: This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this problem! All advertising is inherently a bit risky. A campaign considered safe is not likely to also be one that stands out and is effective. To get ahead, you have to take risks. Agencies realize this. Clients often don’t.
If a client truly wants to stand out, they need to be willing to take a chance and choose solutions that, at least from the outside, appear risky. And we’re not talking about recklessness. Agencies have a solid sense of “value risks” – those leaps of faith that are actually supported by ROI findings.
One last note to remember: not every risk pays off. However, if you keep an eye on the larger scope of the campaign or branding efforts, you’ll see that every faltering step is preparation for a big leap that does pay off.
Clients and agencies have a responsibility to each other. There’s a true partnership at work. By really nurturing this relationship – giving it time, attention and care – both sides will be amazed and humbled at the results they are able to produce.
Stay tuned for future episodes of Branding Lovelines, and be sure to give your agency a hug the next time you see them.
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