Every client relationship should be a working relationship. Contrary to what some folks might believe, branding and marketing communications professionals don’t have magic wands. Account managers, designers, and writers almost never have telepathic powers. And none of us can perform even a single Jedi mind trick.
In other words, if an agency type sidles up to you and says, “My shop can create branding nirvana for you without you having to lift a finger–all you have to do is sit back and let us do our thing,” there is only one proper response: run.
The truth is that great branding—and great bottom-line results—can only happen when client and agency roll up their collective sleeves and work together consistently, talk constantly and share information selflessly. Thoughtful, relevant work simply can’t be conjured up in a vacuum.
The more insight and access to customer behavior and perceptions that clients provide, the more knowledge its agency has to develop big ideas and breakthrough executions. Smart agencies understand this and, as a result, welcome and encourage client input all the time.
Now that’s not to say the agency should sit back and expect clients to be the first to provide strategies or concepts. Agencies need to always be proactive in advancing their best ideas. The thing to remember is that those ideas will be stronger if they’ve gotten an early reality check or genuine buy-in from clients. And that comes from working collaboratively with them.
We understand that times are tough and that clients want more out of their marketing dollars than ever before. But the only route to success involves equal amounts of engagement from the client and the agency. Once that is established, you’ll see real magic happen.