It’s a simple equation: great clients plus a great agency relationship results in great work. Why? A unique alchemy that happens when a branding or marketing client chooses to work with a consulting firm that shares the same sensibilities. Can you get great work from your consultants if it’s not a true partnership? Let’s just say, it’s a lot harder. Too often, the devils of corporate uncertainty, lack of clarity, and poor communications can derail the process.
If you want to give yourself a better than fighting chance to get great work, here are five ways to get the most out of your agency relationship.
1. Start with the right chemistry.
While some companies might be dazzled by an agency’s big name clients, what really matters is how well you’ll jive with your consultant’s day-to-day team. Make sure you meet the folks you’ll be interacting with most, and especially those who will be doing the big thinking for you.
2. Know your own organization.
Great clients can be dependable guides through their organizations’ minefields. You can help your consulting partner navigate your levels of approval by inviting your company’s decision-makers into the process early on. Knowing who your gatekeepers are and helping your consultants to win them over can eliminate costly roadblocks on a project.
3. Understand what you’re buying.
When it comes to working with your consultants, remember that you’re purchasing their talent and their time. While a project may deliver a new strategy or design, you’re actually paying for the process to get there. Sure, there may be changes along the way. But if you acknowledge what’s in scope and what’s out, then you can negotiate fairly should more work be required.**
4. Be an excellent editor.
Your consultants want to deliver exactly what you need. If it’s off the mark, then being an excellent editor means being straight-up honest. Offer specific reasons why it’s not working. Your consultants can take it; they’re professionals. The more detail you can give, the better revisions you’ll get back.
5. Trust the experts.
By putting the time into choosing your consulting partner, you’ve already shown that you consider them experts. If something doesn’t resonate, ask questions first and open up the dialogue. Trust is a bridge that is anchored on both sides. Being a good client will earn you the respect of your consultants who will want to give you the best work they can. Greatness begets greatness.