This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.
We undertake extensive agency remuneration benchmarking and one of the outputs of this process is determining the efficiency of the client / agency relationship. When we identify particularly inefficient relationships we will then investigate further to determine the causes.
Typically the main issues causing inefficiencies include:
- Poor briefing processes
- Misalignment of expectations
- Flawed approval processes
- Different interpretations of creativity
- Challenging relationships
- Cultural clashes
But instead of providing our recommendations on how to address these issues and encourage greater efficiency, effectiveness and creative value, I would go to the source. I would go to the CEOs of the agencies that are regularly recognised for creative excellence, not just in Australia and New Zealand, but those recognised regionally across Asia Pacific and on the global stage.
The agency CEOs I spoke with include, (from left to right starting at the top):
- Peter Biggs, Chief Executive, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
- Ben Lilley, Chairman & CEO, McCann Worldgroup
- Andy Pontin, CEO, Clemenger BBDO Sydney
- Sudeep Gohil, CEO, Droga5 Australia
- Nick Garrett, MD, Colenso BBDO NZ
- Jaimes Leggett, CEO, M&C Saatchi Australia
- Mark Green, CEO/Co-Founder, The Monkeys
- Chris Brown, CEO DDB Group Australia
Let’s look at what these agency CEOs have to say on the issue of encouraging greater creative value. In no particular order, here they are.
Poor briefing processes
Briefing is a long standing problem because of the concept of Garbage In, Garbage Out. That is why many agencies provide training for marketers on how to brief them. Does yours?
“Brief writing – it amazes me how the art of brief writing has been lost and I would encourage clients to train their teams to know how to brief agencies well and be single-minded. We love holding brief writing sessions for clients and they get a huge amount out of it. A few hours a day invested is well worth it”. - Nick Garrett, CEO, Colenso NZ
One solution that takes this idea a step further is to actually write the brief together.
“Co-authored briefs; they result in better ideas that are more likely to be bought as everyone has buy-in”. - Andy Pontin CEO, Clemenger BBDO Sydney
Many believe that context is important and that the broader the context the better able the agency is to solve the problem and provide the solution.
“Thorough briefing – on the business problem and not just the advertising deliverables”. - Chris Brown, CEO DDB Group Australia
“Brief on genuine business problems vs advertising requests”. - Sudeep Gohil, CEO, Droga5 Australia
“Describe the business objective – not just the marketing objective”. - Ben Lilley, Chairman & CEO, McCann Worldgroup
“Brief customer engagement rather than (media) channel plans”. - Jaimes Leggett, CEO, M&C Saatchi Australia
“Share as much information and insight as possible”. - Sudeep Gohil, CEO, Droga5 Australia
And that the best briefs are where you are able to go beyond your comfort zone.
“Share the truth no one else has either noticed or the guts to share”. – Peter Biggs, Chief Executive, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
That ultimately if your agency is not providing the strategic or creative solution you need, it will be because they did not understand the problem.
“Be as explicit as possible around problems or issues”. - Sudeep Gohil, CEO, Droga5 Australia
The best solutions come from defining and understanding the best problems.
“Don’t confuse the problem with objectives – one you solve, the other you achieve”. - Peter Biggs, Chief Executive, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
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