The best clients are like family. They’re not perfect. They may get under our skin from time to time, but we agencies need them to succeed in this business. So we must always work to build strong ties from the start – bonds that will last over time. Just like any good relationship, this is not something that happens overnight. It takes days, months and sometimes years of commitment, hard work and effective communication to develop that brotherly and sisterly love between agencies and their clients. It’s a journey.
To create and sustain a trusting, familial relationship, both parties must begin by pledging to keep it real. Open and honest communication is the foundation to any long-term relationship. All parties involved should be free and unafraid to express themselves – relaying the good, the bad and what’s just not working at all. This should be constructive; clients and agencies should never criticize without providing a solution. Focusing on solving the problem instead of just pointing it out keeps the conversation moving, and moving forward.
With a strong and honest foundation in place, the next step is to support each other no matter the circumstance. As the agency, we must always show we care. Agencies should celebrate the highs and lows of their client’s business. When things go well, we’re there to congratulate. When things go badly, we’re there to help figure out a way to get things back on track. And we must never forget that clients are people too. We need to take time to check in and make sure our clients are doing OK. The healthier they are mentally, emotional and physically, the better work we can do together.
Last, we must always challenge our clients to grow, and they must always challenge us – just as our family helps us learn and evolve. Each hurdle we overcome together is a chance to reach new heights – to create better and more effective campaigns or to push the envelope on innovation and new ideas.
When agencies and clients work together, we create products. When we work to become family, we find our rhythm, and that combination of support and challenge makes us unstoppable.
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