Five ways of creating true client-agency partnership by breaking the norms

Earlier in the year, I had the opportunity of experiencing true client/agency partnership when I worked as part of a team that developed a brand strategy for several brands owned by a leading indigenous FMCG company. It was such a fulfilling experience for every member of the team as we learnt together, motivated each other, played hard and all truly owned the brands which ended up with an excellent brand manual delivered for four brands to guide consistent messaging, product innovations and provide a clear vision that helps all stakeholders work towards the same business objectives.

We were such a synergised team that we called ourselves ‘The Incredibles’ and had a mantra ‘We Crack It!’ which we chanted together at the start of every session and at every roadblock to stay motivated together and deliver the best output together. And so, here are 5 ways for clients and agencies alike to get to experience this mutually fulfilling definition of a partnership:

Encourage true collaboration: True client-agency collaboration is the pillar of every brand success and the notion of a subservient relationship that exists between clients and agencies must be discarded as clients are only as good as their agencies and vice versa. True collaboration should be encouraged in the form of getting the best minds from the agency and client-side to participate equally by harnessing their uniqueness and sharing information that positively shapes the future of a brand.

Work with integrity: This just simply means that parties from both the client and agency side must not work for their self-interest but in advancing the goals of the brand based on contractual terms. Integrity fosters a natural trusting relationship that permits open communication, good decision making and a strong moral compass that guides all decisions and actions to be focused on the brand and its needs.

Get personal: As said by Chidinma Uwadiae, fun and work are inseparable. During the brand strategy sessions I talked about earlier, we sure had fun during our meetings with jokes and it helped give a sense of ‘we are in this together no matter what challenge we face’. This made the entire team more enthusiastic to out-perform the requirement of the task at hand which we did.

Activate a fair feedback process: Clients evaluating agencies is a standard operating process and this review should be reciprocated by agencies for clients with the aim of building a true partnership that is associated with mutual strategic purpose, revenues and profitability.

Have a fair compensation model: Appreciate value comes at a cost and agree on a fair fee that is of mutual advantage to the client and agency. This ensures both parties feel emotionally and financially secure to deliver the best business ideas.

There you have it, now let’s go on to break the norms of how clients and agencies work by both parties expressing a passionate commitment to themselves.

Written by Ose Osundeko, Head, Digital Marketing at Starcom Media Perspectives


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