It’s probably not much of a secret that within the agency world, some clients are liked more than others. Interestingly, there is a correlation between the quality of work a “great” client gets and that which other clients get. And it has much less to do with whether they are personally liked and far more about with what they actually DO. So if you want to be a “great client” of your agency, and gain those benefits, here are some pointers:
Agencies work better as partners, rather than as vendors
Although you are indeed paying us to do what we do, we rarely see the relationship as transactional. We just don’t. When we set up a new relationship we feel like we are signing on to a new enterprise, gaining a new friend, starting a great adventure: we’re all in. The more you let us in, the better we can be for you. We’re just wired that way: we truly want to bring our skills to bear on your business to HELP you. Not just to make some money. So trust us, talk to us, reason with us; and avoid just telling us what to do. Which leads to the next point.
You bought a dog: don’t bark for it
You may own the dog, but you bought it because you don’t bark so good. But your agency does. This is a plea to trust the judgement that you liked enough in the very beginning to pay your agency to provide to you. So when you art-direct ads (“the logo should be bigger”; “those colors don’t work”) or stuff new words into copy, all in the name of “making it better”, often you are not. But, you ask, quite reasonably: “Is the agency always automatically right? Is there no room for our opinion?” Great questions: next point.
Please give actionable feedback
Please don’t tell us “It’s red and I like blue”. Tell us WHY something must be so. Tell us what the problem is; please don’t just tell us the solution. If we understand the problem well, then we can propose solutions. Probably solutions you wouldn’t have thought of. ‘Cause that’s why you hired us in the first place: to think like you don’t. Some things just must be so and we get that. Legal requirements? Understood. Audience sensitivities? Check. Product attributes/abilities? Got it. All of those require accuracy and specificity and we are happy to work within it. Taste? Keep talking. It helps to remember that one of the things good agencies do is challenge accepted thinking. “Why is that so?” is an important agency tool.
Please remember in most cases you are not the target audience
Your agency’s work is designed to talk to your audience, not to you. So you may not get it, or even like it. That’s less important than if your audience will. The agency looks at everything from the perspective of the audience we are trying to influence.
We don’t think we get it right the first time or that everything we do is the best, ever, right now. Or that it’s a problem if you disagree with us. We are delighted, even eager, to revise, hone and polish in the quest for the mostest perfectest execution ever. And often our clients help us get there. We love it when that happens. We need your experience, insight, smarts and participation to make good ideas great.
Easy, right? Our favorite clients do all of the above. We are partners, friends and co-conspirators. And that’s when great things happen. Call us if you want to give it a go.
Posted in Branding