Client / Agency Relationships

Here is something funny. If you google ‘agency client relationship’ in Calgary, the first sponsored result is a link to a ‘Marriage Agency’ (and even funnier is that if you click this link it actually goes to a dating service… but that’s next week’s post).

 But it got me thinking. While comparing the agency/client relationship to a marriage is not new ground, allow me to explore it…again.

 I may be only seven years into my marriage (a near drop in the bucket compared to my grandparents’ 70 years), but of course I realize that great relationships work because both parties are committed to making it so. The same should be said about client/agency relationships.

 So, the agency puts in hard work. We have to. We wouldn’t be in business long if we didn’t. But can the same be said for the client? We all know the great ones do. And we cherish these relationships. And they work. Sometimes for a very long time.

 So how can those casual, no strings attached relationships evolve into something more solid? ((I realize the analogy breaks down when talking about monogamy, as great relationships can work with collaboration between multiple agency partners. Great marriages, not so much)) Here are some thoughts on how clients can get the most out of their agency:

  1. Share with your agency. Not only intelligence, but your thoughts, your biases and your budgets.
  2. Bring your agency to the table early. Planting a seed about a project/campaign prior to you having all of the information will get your team thinking. In the shower. On the bus. In the… well, you get the idea.
  3. Work with the agency to define objectives. If you both agree what the objectives are, and define the success criteria together, than there is no grey area on whether or not success is achieved.
  4.  Be transparent with approvals and make it a single point of contact. As Ogilvy said, “you’ll find no statues of committees”. The more people involved the more personal bias is introduced and homogenization of the idea will occur. Take ownership of the creative – if you believe in the underlying strategy, then believe in the execution.

 Now repeat after me, I ZGM take _________ to be my…

 Sorry dead horse.

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