Ad people, like most people, love to bitch and moan. I can hear the collective groan now:
Whoa is me, I have another dumbass client with another idiotic demand that subtracts value from ‘the work.’
Maybe there are many good reasons for this sour-faced condition. Or maybe ad people are choking on self-importance.
Ask yourself what a lobby full of trophies truly says about your agency? Does it say you’re excellent at what you do? Or does it say the agency is self-absorbed and focused on the wrong things?
Clearly, the agency business needs to pick itself up and dust itself off. No one is denying it, at least not in public. But what about clients who hire agencies? Do clients also share in the responsibility to improve their business practices?
Here’s an excerpt from this evergreen content:
When your agency disagrees with you, try to understand why. Great work comes from understanding not from ignorance. Debate is a natural part of the creative and strategic process and it can lead to things that neither agency nor client could have done on its own. This type of collaboration is the sign of a healthy dynamic where differing opinions become the basis for new understanding and exploration. When an agency pushes back, they’re not always trying to be arrogant know-it-alls–consider that they might actually care about your business.
Try not to have a pre-conceived notion of what the work should look like–it prejudices you from all the other good ideas you may not have thought of. Don’t lose sight of the fact that agencies aren’t focused on you, they’re focused on your customers and what you might like isn’t always what will work best in the marketplace. A good agency will bring concepts and ideas that they feel will be most successful and they should be able to defend why they did and didn’t take certain approaches to solve the problem.
It’s funny, ad people either master interpersonal communications, or they suffer. In other words, there is no chance of a creative breakthrough on the account when there’s no active dialogue between decision makers on both sides of the agency/client relationship.
Ad pros routinely ask clients to take a risk, often based on a hunch. Clients much prefer to make data-based decisions. Thus, meeting in the middle is a real art.