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5 tips for collaborating with your new agency

Posted by Lauren Ruckheim on January 27, 2016

“Coming together is a beginning;
keeping together is progress;
working together is success.”

Henry Ford

Collaboration is essential to producing great results, especially when it comes to client and agency relationships. When working with a new agency, it is easy to forget that a failure to provide necessary information may hinder an agency’s ability to provide the quality of work you need. In order to produce the best results, agencies must be front-loaded with the appropriate information to ensure long-term success, and collaboration is certainly key.

Like any relationship, the one between the client and the agency takes time to develop and nurture. Below are five tips to help create a healthy client/agency relationship and foster creative collaboration:

1) Be prepared to delve into the ins and outs of a campaign
Marketing campaigns have a tendency to move quickly from one stage to the next. At the minimum, a campaign will generally involve a strategy phase, a creative development phase, an approval phase and an execution phase. With this in mind, it is important for the client to prepare for the quick pace of the campaign. A simple way to do this is to get a solid team in place from the genesis of the campaign. Define the roles and responsibilities of each internal team member and determine who will be approving materials, reviewing strategies, etc., in advance in order to streamline procedures.


2) Provide the agency with brand guidelines
While any agency is going to do it homework on the client, the agency is not going to be an expert on the client’s brand identity right out of the gate. Therefore, it is important for the client to brief the agency on the company brand and provide guidelines. Educating the agency on the brand guidelines will ensure that all elements created for the campaign are in line with the overall look and tone of the company.


3) Bring the decision maker into the campaign during the strategy and concept stages
A common mistake made when executing a campaign is including the decision maker only at the end of the campaign when approval is needed. Often this can create extra work when the decision maker will have a key suggestion regarding direction and the strategy. Modifying previous work so late in the production process can have a detrimental impact on costs and time. In order to simplify the process, bring the decision maker in as soon as possible.


4) Provide your agency with past collateral that you both like and dislike
Providing examples of collateral that you both like and dislike helps the agency get a better idea of your ideal creative direction. This can limit the number of revisions that will need to be made throughout the campaign, since the agency will have a better idea of what you’re looking for.


5) Notify the agency of the internal review timeline and a realistic timetable
Agencies will generally create a timeline outlining each stage of the campaign and estimating how long it will take. In order to help the agency most effectively estimate the length of a campaign, be honest as to how long reviewing materials will take for you and your team.


Building a successful client and agency relationship means creating an environment for collaboration and teamwork. To make sure that you’re getting the most out of your agency relationship, download a copy of our Agency Scorecard checklist. It only takes a few minutes to complete and can tell you if you’re getting the best strategic, analytical and creative help you need to move your business forward. Start keeping score today.

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