Â -Â Â Â Â Â Â A view of agencies from our clients
Ultimately, the relationship between a client and an agency is just like any other relationship you will experience in your life. They tend to start well but, unless we invest time into them, they can turn into messy bitter break-ups.
Here are just six thoughts, from some of our clients, as to why some agency relationships are as smooth as Al Green on a red wine infused Saturday evening â€“ yet some are as painful as the central line at 0830 on a Monday morning.
1.Â R.E.S.P.E.C.TÂ – There has to be a mutual respect for each other and our ideas. From a client perspective, Iâ€™m always prepared to listen to your ideas and your recommendations but in the same sense, I also know my stakeholders and the boundaries of what I can get away with. Give praise where itâ€™s due but also bring up the awkward pain points before they become awkward conversations with those higher up.
2.Â Expand my horizons â€“ inspire me! â€“Â Two minds are greater than one. I want to be inspired by the people Iâ€™m working with. I love it when my agencies tell us about successful initiatives theyâ€™ve had with other clients.
3.Â Be flexibleÂ â€“ Unfortunately, like buses, work might not arrive for weeks and then it all arrives at once. We are at the mercy of our stakeholders. For example, absolutely nothing happens in summer â€“ and, then in September you will shudder every time you see my name in your inbox! Weâ€™re completely transparent about our workloads with our agencies so when they need a bit of slack because they have a huge project, we understand â€“ and of course it works the other way. Equally, I like my agency to come up with initiatives that fill those quieter periods.
4.Â Organisational SkillsÂ – My absolute pet hate when working with agencies, is when I have to chase them for documents. Iâ€™m dealing with enough internal stakeholders to not want to spend my time chasing for the promised work. If you say youâ€™ll provide me with a document by 4pm on Thursday, Iâ€™ll have a calendar appointment in my phone for 4pm on Thursday.
5.Â Show an understanding of my market and my stakeholdersÂ – I can always tell when an agency has put a little work in beforehand to understand the company, market and key trends.
6.Â Value for moneyÂ – Always a difficult conversation. I know the budget will have to be flexible as there will be unexpected hurdles along the way, but all I ask is you keep me updated.
We like to think weâ€™re not guilty of any of these but itâ€™s always good to have a reminder of what our clients need. For more tips, check outÂ What makes a successful client-agency relationship;Â PR Weekâ€™s Alex Benady hears from both sides about their best and worst experiences. This follows aÂ PRCA surveyÂ suggesting agencies and clients widely differ on the key issues that matter most in their relationships.
Just remember things are always better when youâ€˜re united â€“ communication isnâ€™t just our business itâ€™s the key to our successful working relationships.
In our next blog on this theme, we will be looking at what makes a good agency client.