31/10/2014

Don't be polite: four pitfalls to avoid when building agency relationships

By Sophie Strang

Temper tantrum

The best ideas, the most exciting innovations and the greatest designs are created when agencies and clients work openly together.

At some point in your career as a brand marketer, you will need to call upon the ideas and creativity of agencies to enhance your brand. And now, when consumers are encountering marketing content at every turn, the agency’s role as a trusted partner has never been more important. When many brands are struggling to keep up with the pace of change- your agency can help keep your head in the game.

So if you want to get the most out of your brand, avoid these four pitfalls­:

  1. FEAR OF CHANGE
    • As the media has become fractured it has become almost impossible to win over consumers through advertising alone. Consequently, the relationship between users and brands has become increasingly important and thus, a cultural appreciation of the role design can play in the marketing mix is crucial. So you should be thinking about how your brand design agency could help beyond their traditional remit. Allow experts in different areas to influence and inspire each other!
  2.  POLITENESS
    • It might seem strange to call politeness a bad thing. And no, we’re certainly not advocating the opposite! But we associate politeness with the early stages of a relationship when trust is still being earned and it is hard for either side to be completely honest. But your agency needs to challenge and push you and should not be afraid to do so- so it’s imperative that you push past that first date awkwardness!
  3. PIGEON-HOLING
    • Your agency will have a vast wealth of valuable knowledge and experience to draw on- they can provide advice as well as design! Get them involved in projects as early as possible and keep them in the loop until the very end. This can help you to make more informed decisions, and will save both time and money throughout the process.
  4. SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS
    • In order to truly move your brand forward you have to think beyond your latest project. This practice generates clarity, enables you to align R&D, formulation, supply chain and brand. Allow your agency to do the same and you’ll minimise dead ends and protracted exploration. By taking a broader view you’re much more likely to produce work that lasts, and that edges your brand towards its longer-term goals.

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