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There’s so much that a great creative agency can do for a brand. But to get the best out of any creative team, the client needs to be fully invested too…  

So, you’ve hired a creative agency to help market your business, brainstorm exciting campaigns for you, write compelling content and create fantastic visuals that you can use to attract customers and cast your net of influence ever wider.

Thing is, for it all to work, they need your buy-in – and not just in rands and cents. They need to see you, to speak to you and engage with your business on the ground if they’re to understand what it is you do, who you are and, ultimately, what it is you want to achieve.

The best kind of client is the one that’s positive, proactive and eager to share their industry knowledge and best practices. Whether you work with a creative agency on a single project or over a number of years, building a good working relationship is your best bet to really nail those desired outcomes.

Here are some tips to help foster a winning client-agency relationship:

  • Both teams need to be aligned. Every agency has its own production process and infrastructure. Being on the same page offers the opportunity to clarify what needs to be done, to flag any potential issues early on, to set reasonable expectations and address concerns.
  • Clear, consistent and candid communication is vital. Regular status meetings, project management tools and implementing other effective workflows are all useful for creating opportunities to engage and review progress.
  • Provide relevant information. Any supporting materials, such as brand guidelines, sales materials, company profiles etc, are all useful for the agency to get to know your business. That, and access to your team, as their IP is often invaluable to help draft content that speaks to what you do in an authentic voice.
  • Be forthcoming about the budget. Clients are sometimes reluctant to divulge their budget because they don’t want to limit the creative process, or they don’t want the agency to use it as a target to aim towards. Truth is, a budget helps earmark the most efficient ways to achieve the desired results and avoid time wasted thinking too big or even too small.
  • Assign points of contact and other key role players. Not allof the team needs to be involved allof the time, so set clear points of contact to help save resources on both sides. This also helps save time when it comes to collecting and consolidating feedback, which includes getting approvals. It’s much easier for your creative agency to work with a single checklist of edits, than deal with multiple comments from multiple people, about the same thing.
  • Be responsive. It’s difficult to stick to timelines and deadlines if your creative agency is stuck waiting for approvals, if important meetings keep getting postponed, or if content that needs to be supplied is continuously delayed. We all know that life happens and sometimes there are valid reasons for such hiccups, but it’s best to make them the exception rather than the rule, to help sustain momentum.
  • Keep everyone in the loop. Some projects will involve more than one agency and/or third-party suppliers. So connect them with each other if they’ll need to work together for the best outcomes to be achieved. Don’t concern yourself with playing middleman if you don’t have to.
  • Offer constructive feedback. A good agency always wants to know how they’re doing and how they can improve.Feedback can be tricky though, especially when it’s negative, so always try to provide a rationale for your assessment, as this will help the agency respond quickly and also learn your style and taste.

Lastly, creative collaboration is about pushing boundaries, challenging norms and having fun. So don’t forget to enjoy the process of growing your brand – something which is always made easier when you enlist the help of an agency that wants you to succeed, just as much as you do.