Sunday, January 30, 2011

Let the fun begin.

I've been half joking about writing on this topic for years, coming out of many good and bad meetings saying "When I write my book about how to be a client...".

A few people lately have suggested it might be a serious project, something that could be genuinely useful to both sides of the client/agency divide. The intention of this blog is to test that theory.

There are plenty of people with more years of experience in this than me. And plenty of others who have been both sides of the fence (I learnt most of what I know about design in my early career as a client before starting my own agency.)

But most of the writing and discussion I hear largely involves one side saying how they think the other side should behave. The conversation never seems to progress beyond ‘don’t you hate it when…’.

All the talk of partnerships, profit-share models, self-initiated projects and client-less briefs (while fascinating and often fruitful) is really just avoiding the issue. Most of us will still need to work ‘for’ clients most of the time to earn a living.

In my experience people working within agencies generally know that they need to get better at dealing with clients but tend to believe that there is a  trade-off between the best work and the best way to please the client. This attitude tends to lead to success in neither. 

Clients will often lack confidence in their own convictions but will blame the agency, the budget or their own colleagues before questioning whether their ability to commission effectively may be at fault.

Anyway, it’s an ongoing discussion.

I’ll put some stuff up here and I encourage you — clients and agencies — to have your say with questions, complains, comments, solutions, war stories and triumphs.

1 comment:

  1. I find the answer is always buried in the question.
    So asking the right question is the trick.

    'Who do you work for?', is the right question.

    I am in the employ of a large, Multi national ad agency and my client is a large, Multi national consumer products concern.

    I tell my clients, 'I dont work for XXX( agency) and I don't work for YYY(you).
    I work for BBB(their brand).'

    When clients know you are focused on the success of the brand, the rest is easy. You can get away with being blunt and honest. That leads to better work for everyone.

    It just has to be true.
    In other words, eyes on the prize.
    The prize is the brand.