It's a well-known fact, whether you work client-side or agency; that agencies (PR or otherwise) often seem to inherit somewhat of a bad stigma or this 'enemy' sort of image from clients. More often than not this stems from clients having been burnt in the past, but as with any relationship if one cannot go into a new partnership with fresh mind and outlook, the relationship is doomed from the start. So contrary to what all us customer facing servants have been taught, these type of failed relationships are the fault of the client and here's how to avoid it.
Now before I jump in it's important to note as someone who has worked both client-side and agency-side I have firsthand witnessed and experienced this (I'll put my hands up and say I may have been guilty of it too but not naming names) - so this is not just coming from a defensive agency worker. Let's jump in shall we?
In order to maximise and make your client-agency relationship work I’ve put together my top five tips that are actually so transferable whether you are a marketing or PR agency or a financial consultancy it all comes down to client management.
- THE IMMERSION – this may feel like a no-brainer and something you think you’re already doing but trust me when I say you’re probably doing it wrong. Let’s put it this way… When you hire someone in-house for any role, you need to integrate them into the team, correct? Into your team, into the company, into the culture of the company and into your work style. So why is this not the case with agencies? The first step in making your agency relationship work is the immersion phase of the relationship. At TLA we pride ourselves on having a strong immersion stage with new clients to ensure we can embody the brand, we can confidently be part of internal conversations and so that we can establish ourselves as just an extension of the team. So when you’re looking for a new PR agency, ask them how do they ensure this happens and how quickly you can get up and running - bit of a trick question here.
- COMMUNICATION – start as you mean to go on right? It’s the same with communication. Don’t let that conversation die, agree on regular communication methods, formal and in-formal knowledge sharing. It’s imperative to keep that conversation going if you want to ensure an integrated approach. Keep each other posted on changes, updates and ideas you have had. Again we are acting as
- TRUST, HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY – if you aren’t sure or you’re questioning something say it. No relationship is going to work without trust, honesty and transparency – it is just as important as it would be for any relationship!
- CREATIVITY – no one likes a broken record, so keep it fresh, dynamic and creative. Shake things up, share ideas, campaign examples, challenge and push each other to step outside your comfort zone, together.
This goes for the thought process, the approach and the execution.
- Last but certainly not least; PASSION. One of the most important things for what we do is passion. It is what drives us, what makes us get up in the morning and why we’re all here. Remember that. I have always thought passion is more important than money – though of course we need the right balance of both. But recognise the passion, cultivate it and you will succeed.
If you’re questioning how to make your client / agency relationship work drop us an email or give us a call and we can tell you exactly where that kink in your chain is. It’s important to iron them out so that you can produce a healthy, successful relationship and not be burned. And we’re not tooting our own horn here, we’re merely taken the time to understand the pain points and downfalls, and we’re changing them.