When an agency is talking to new clients, the main question that they ask is what they are looking to get out of the partnership, and collaboration is the first word that comes up most often. Collaboration and understanding is the key to a successful business relationship.
Clients choose to work with agencies because they are experts in their respective field, as well as they have a broad external perspective. Usually agencies will be doing something that the client cannot do in-house and in many cases, the agency will find themselves working with clients with little to no experience of similar projects. That is not to diminish the contribution that clients bring to the table i.e. the agency will never fully understand the clients organization, products, customers and competitors as well as they do.
Agencies require the clients’ inputs to properly understand the context in which a project exists, the stress and pressure they face and what success looks like. To get the best work, agency and clients should respect each other’s roles and abilities within a project. This means that a client should know when to be steered and take advice by their agency partner.
It also means that micro- managing the agency team might not be the best approach but the best results will usually be achieved by giving the agency the required freedom to do their tasks while providing them with relevant guidance and input. It is important to know when either the client or agency should defer to the other party’s judgement. The best results are achieved when both collaborate in a way that makes use of their respective strengths.
Communication is key. Clients who collaborate with agencies believe that their partnership plays an important role in driving success and relies heavily on these relationships to help them achieve their business goals and for most agencies long-term client engagements are equivalently important. The agency business does not work if the agency cannot continuously maintain a substantial database of positive client relationships. For the better understanding of the agency, communication is very important.
The agency should be able to ask questions to better comprehend the clients business, needs, target audience, culture and business approach. Communication will help the agency understand the current state of the business so that they can prepare to move ahead with a solid plan and the client will have to shed much needed light. Sharing ideas and being a team member is important for a client as it allows transparency.
When there is nothing to hide, there will be no surprises for either partner to be caught off guard or unaware and have to fix it. Developing a strong working relationship on a regular basis with an agency prevents miscommunication, encourages a trustworthy environment and helps the process to move along. Where there is trust and transparency between agency and client, there is more productivity in marketing.
Clients often inform agencies that they like to be challenged. One of the most complicated paths for an agency professional is to negotiate a fine line between keeping a client happy and becoming a yes man. It is important to remember that the client pays the agency for thinking, opinions and the correct point of view. The effectiveness of a great piece of work will easily outlive the distress of a difficult conversation. Debate and challenge is part of a healthy agency-client relationship but there shouldn’t be dogmatism.
Telling the client ‘it is right because I said so’ isn’t going to cut it and it should not. When an agency challenges a client, they need to explain the thought processes behind the arguments, alternatives while giving a clear recommendation based on logic. But agencies should also know when to give up as continuing on a road that the client doesn’t want to go down will be annoying for the client and will ultimately eat into the agency’s profits. The client is not always right but sometimes they might be.
Clients hire agencies to acquire results. The agency that has the collaborative efforts of their clients will be able to do more in a lesser time frame with a better understanding of the client’s industry. When the client can help navigate the murky waters of marketing, agencies will be able to focus on other more important factors. Collaborative business relationships are not easy as it takes time to build up communication, transparency, trust but it can yield long lasting results.
At BrandYou we keep everything simple for the client and business owners so that they can focus on more important matters. No matter how big or small the job is, our team of professionals follow certain steps,with a straightforward process to help the client achieve what they are looking for.
Listening is a very important skill which is requires having an open and healthy relationship with the client. Listening to your clients and qualifying them is the privilege you want to work with. Listening to the clients is not just about just hearing their problems. It is about connecting with them and paying close attention to their needs and understanding how you can achieve their goals. It is an important process and once you have achieved it properly can you attain the set goals and bring them on as your client.
Lee Kavanagh, Managing Director of BrandYou, believes that listening to the client is the most essential step as it helps the agency understand the product better. Listening during meeting will help recognize what is required and what changes the client requires.
The last thing that a client wants is a mouthpiece that agrees with everything that they say. They want an agency that can do things they cannot within a budget and on time. It is important to look for objectivity in an agency. The agency should provide the best possible advice. Disagreements are common and need to be addresses whereas debate over things is important but an agreement should be reached to provide the best results. At Brand You, Lee Kavanagh gives first hand direction and guidance to their clients which in return funds well for the agency.
The next stage is connection. A good agency client connection helps both the parties to face the problems together. Clients should try and maintain a good connection with the agencies which they hire as it helps the work and project to take place more smoothly. Not having a connection with the client and agency will deteriorate the work and both will not be able to communicate openly or give their 100 per cent to the tasks.
The effect of having a bad connection has adverse effects on both parties. Bad engagements can result in discontent among the parties and unnecessary wastage of funds and time. BrandYou believes that guidance is followed by connection because is the part where the final sale is made and you have made a connection with them.
On boarding process
Client on boarding is the most important stage in the collaboration as it is the process where the agency is welcoming the new clients into the business, addressing their questions and concerns while ensuring they understand the services available to them.
Agencies shouldn’t make the mistake and assume that the current customer service structure will take care of the client on- boarding process as it can lead to clients getting frustrated and cancel their account. Client on-boarding is an important function for businesses because it directly affects the clients experience with the agency which will affect the profits. BrandYou gives a lot of importance to the on boarding process as it informs the clients their deliverables and what tasks the agency will fulfil.
Completing the project
When the client gives a task or project it is important that the agency works as a team to achieve the required goals. Completing the project on time is important for the agency as crossing the deadline may affect the profits and make the client frustrated. In completing a project many fundamentals are involved and it is important to make sure that everything is finished.
The client should be happy with what the agency is delivering as an end result and it is important for the agency to ensure that they have covered each task properly. At BrandYou, the team of professionals submit the work on time with the best results obtained providing complete satisfaction to the client.
Review of the work done by the agency at each stage by the client. The client closely reviews the tasks which the agency has submitted. The agency should be open with their communication and inform the client what information they require initially so that during the review they have not missed out anything. At BrandYou we believe in providing the client with something extra which is very important as the value of the client and agency is increased and shows that the agency went an extra mile.
After completing all the steps the agency has received a lifetime client. The client will trust you and confront you directly with any problems which they are facing which will be converted into partnership overtime. BrandYou has clients who return to us over the years with the problems they are facing.
As an agency we put a structure and system in place to make sure that the client uses their customer service and provide them the best quality products. BrandYou even conducts a brand audit to make sure everything is in place while making sure all team members know what they are doing.
Brand You Creative
Creator – Lee Kavanagh on Apr 20, 2020