I have worked for many great agencies in my career. I have also conducted agency searches for clients like Jenny Craig, Raley’s Supermarkets, and Jacuzzi. I believe I have a perspective from both sides of the street. Consider me a person who loves both worlds and wants to bridge some gaps.
I think that there are a number of factors today that are unique to these times that strain client agency relationships. I have summarized some in a previous blog called What’s Wrong with Client Agency Relationships? There is No Romance.
So going into a New Year I thought I would offer up some thoughts on how to get the most from your Advertising, Public Relations or Digital Agency.
- First and foremost educate them. The more your agencies know about your company and you the more they can help. This is more than directing them to your website. When I worked at agencies I rode with the sales force, I worked in stores; I smelled the product and sold the product. I met the R& D people. I went to the factory. I was immersed in the brand because a client invested in me. I appreciated that investment and I wanted to reciprocate with hard work and love for the brand. Disappointment was not an option.
- Give them clarity. One of the worst feelings I had as an agency person was getting a terrible briefing from a client. You could ask all the right questions but sometimes clients provide a bunch of mumbo jumbo as direction. The briefing seemed to come out of a blender. Probably because they were trying to regurgitate a number of diverse inputs internally. Driving back to the agency I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day because I was coming back empty handed. I would have to play the client and try to make something out of nothing.
- Inspire them. When I worked at JWT in a different day their symbol was an owl and a lamp. The owl was for knowledge which equated to finding insight and the hard work which knowledge takes. The lamp was for magic and yes advertising is magic. It is mercurial. To get great advertising you have to inspire your agency to innovate. That is scary for many clients in this consensus safe keep my job world. The clients who got the best work were the outlaw clients who were a different breed within their company. They swung for the fences and they got work which sometimes struck out but often went over the fences and their careers soared. Aren’t you tired of playing it safe? You can’t change many things in life but you can change how you play it. The amount of time spent in that client chair and that office will have a limit. Don’t you want to make if a hard act to follow?
More thoughts to come.
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In the spirit of Christmas download my free audio CD called Hank Blank’s Guide to Holiday Networking. Adjust the volume up a bit. Hope you enjoy.