This post is by Zena Churchill, a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Over the past 20 years, Zena has worked for some of the biggest international and national brands. Having worked both agency and client side, Zena has strong insight and experience across most facets of marketing, specialising in media, strategy and BTL.
When I first started out in marketing, we had a full service agency that handled all of our advertising and media needs; they were the true ‘one-stop’ shop and, at the time, it worked really well.
From the client perspective we only had one agency relationship to manage, and as a result we invested a lot of energy into making sure it ran smoothly. In our eyes, the agency was a true business partner, not just a supplier, and they were treated as such.
Over the past 20 years however, the advertising and marketing landscape has shifted dramatically; with new media, creative channels, a shift in the role of the consumer, speed to market and increased real-time performance accountability meaning there are few agencies who can offer the one-stop solution, and this means more agencies are now needed to deliver on a client’s business.
This causes issues at both ends of the spectrum, with both clients and agencies needing to manage multiple relationships per campaign, and rarely does this work.
Clients struggle to find the time needed to do this well and agencies grow resentful that agency B over there got a bigger slice of the budget, or they believe they could do a better job if only they could do it all.
During my career, I have had the privilege of working with what I thought were some of the best marketing and advertising teams around, both agency and client side. Unfortunately, I have also worked with some of the worst.
The teams that worked well together delivered great work, had a laugh whilst doing it and bandied together when the going got tough, usually ending the day at the pub or sitting in the corner of the agency boardroom swapping war stories and nursing a beer.
When they didn’t work, it was hell. Tempers flared, accusations flew and relationships that were put to the test often failed to survive the campaign. In the highly creative, energetic and volatile industry that is advertising, strong relationships built on trust, respect and honesty are vital in helping brands and agencies work together and grow.
People do their best work when they are are standing on a solid foundation because they can take on anything that is thrown their way. When cracks appear in the foundations however, things can start to get a bit shaky pretty quickly.
Research consistently shows that trust is the key driver of successful relationships between agencies and clients and in 2014, research presented by RPA at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity showed that the importance of trust in the client/agency relationship was the only survey question both agencies and clients scored the same.
So, when relationships between agencies and clients break down, what causes the trust to disappear in the first place and what can be done about it?
4 things that will cause an agency/client breakdown:
Continue reading “Client agency relationships in advertising: 4 problems that cause breakdowns”