Advertiser / agency relationship: How to spin a good cotton after having selected and briefed an agency?



Advertiser-agency collaboration has always been a special case in the world of sponsors and suppliers. This relationship goes much further than simply responding to specifications at the most competitive price.

The acceleration of the world only adds data to a complicated equation, but constantly trying to find its balance.

To give an informed opinion on this collaboration, it is necessary to understand the current context. Shaken by the constant change in communication tools, brands are constantly obliged to create something new, to change their tune. The turnover of CMOs, DIRCOM is intensifying.

The first consequence to this is a restriction of the strategic vision. The second consequence is a tension in the exchanges with the agencies. If the dream of leaving the operation of the year is still present, the confidence, freedom, risk-taking necessary for its emergence are increasingly rare. Communication tools, starting with e-mails, immobilize teams in front of outlook, thereby reducing the share of thinking, that which will tend to really nourish projects and their success.

Also, agency transfers or the combination of several are increasingly common. Let’s not play the “it was better before” card. You have to realize that, 20 years ago, it was longer and more difficult for an agency to acquire a new subject and assimilate its brand history. The Internet and its giant archiving clearly make it easier to get around. Mutual dependence is less strong and it is not necessarily a bad thing.

To not miss this moment of co-creation here are some precious tips.

Understand the motivations rather than stigmatize them.

It is essential to maintain a high degree of communication which must not be reduced to iterations. Except in year-round exclusive teams, where the border between providers and colleagues tends to narrow, the agency remains an external partner. Being able to follow the flow of information, certain choices and the appearance of certain constraints, or even internal disagreements is a precious asset so that the teams are relevant and force of proposal. It is difficult to be satisfied with: “the project is on stand-by, we are awaiting new imputes”. The lack of palpable data may cause the best consultant or creative director to be perplexed.

Still in the communication category, you should know that mutual prejudice is constant and a source of destruction of value. The empathy and understanding of the context of the various internal and external collaborators are the remedy for the frustration of not seeing his expectations or his proposals succeed. Agencies are not stubborn or pretentious. They express by their “impertinence” sometimes a form of interior fire carried above all by passion. Like advertisers, not all are insensitive, whimsical, unrealistic, sly, but are stifled by the obligation of results and internal procrastination, often cumbersome and cumbersome to maneuver. Logically, everyone is very motivated by the success of the project. When a misunderstanding occurs, the best reflex is to understand everyone’s convictions rather than stigmatizing these blockages. Expectations of results should not constrain creation. Coordination of approaches will instead lead creation to support the result.

Freedom and trust: the breeding ground for mutual enrichment.

If trust is to be mutual, the agency remains a provider, and the client the king. The listed project manager has an important role to play in developing a harmonious and beneficial relationship. In such a competitive market, it is easy to get into bad habits, to confuse requirements with slingshot returns.

The main vector for mutual enrichment of the project is located in the areas of freedom (and therefore trust). The advertiser makes a first choice, by selecting their agency. During the project, its role will be to provide guidelines and safeguards as well as to free up space where the agency’s skills center is located. Once the choices have been made and communicated, you need to know how to create these areas of expression. By locking each attempt, by timidity or lack of projection, the risk is to quickly atrophy the motivation and the know-how of the experts who make up the agency. If the exchanges become fruitless several times in a row, do not necessarily see a lack of skill or a strategic error of choice. The best is to try to understand what has stopped the machine to better restart it.

Isolate the feelings of the moment to break the chain of stress.

Another success factor in the advertiser-agency relationship is the ability of key people to break the chain of stress. The pressure generated by management, the need for results, or the need for profitability causes chain reactions that can transform the slightest grain of sand in a project into a cannonball. With hindsight, any situation seems less disproportionate than the feeling at the time. A person who sees red at work is never a coincidence. This is usually a domino effect which can have destructive repercussions by spreading through agencies like a powder fire. Project managers, on both sides of the barrier, know how to isolate the feeling of the moment from the real problem to be solved, and you will then become a key element, respected by all the teams.

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