Client & agency relationships — is there a formula for success?


A client chooses to work with an agency over others because of a respect for what they’ve achieved previously and what they can bring to the table for their project. It’s an agency’s responsibility to live up to a client’s expectation and help to justify their decision every day and a client’s responsibility to give the agency the trust that they can deliver.


Any agency can deliver on a project but it’s being able to truly deliver on a brief that results in real innovation. That ultimately comes down to availability. Can the agency really make a success of the project? Are the resources or skill set there and can the team really live up to the expectations that have been set to the client during the pitch process? Sometimes that capability just isn’t possible and that’s absolutely fine, but it should be communicated at the beginning of a pitch before promising the earth without being able to deliver.


Is there a single contact available for the project? Multiple (or lack of) Product Owner(s) can quickly create an inefficiency that causes a project to derail. A single point of contact is invaluable to ensure relationships can be built and processes followed as efficiently as possible, and it’s just as important from the agency’s side. A single contact for a client to pick up the phone and speak to can go a long way to reducing friction.


An agency’s process is one of the most important parts of any proposal. Success comes from having a well-oiled machine that works seamlessly throughout the business. It’s important that everyone buys into the process. Clearly defined milestones and deliverables within a project ensures visibility from the start and where responsibilities lie.


One of the most important but certainly linked to many other points listed here. Communication, honesty and openness are key skills that have helped build successful relationships. Goals and objectives must be clear and concise to ensure expectations are understood and met throughout the project. Sometimes things happen that are (and aren’t) within your control. We’re all human but it’s important we talk it through ensuring a client is aware as early as possible. Management of a healthy relationship with trust is important.


The very best projects are those where everything aligns across brand, product and user. An understanding of a client’s values, and comparing them to your agency is invaluable to ensure alignment with their goals and objectives.

Culture & Personality

The best time to build the culture and chemistry is even before the initial pitch and is incredibly important before deciding if a project is right for your agency. Sometimes it’s easy to sniff out with misaligned values or working styles but ultimately poor relationships have the potential to derail a successful project. Try to meet your client face-to-face. Is there chemistry and can you see a relationship further than this single project? Negative relationships can cost a studio thousands in additional hours and have an adverse effect on its company culture. Spotting potential red flags early is incredibly important to make for an easier relationship moving forward.


Written by Dan Blackman, Co-COO at Multivitamin Group.

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