We are lucky to work with really lovely clients and pride ourselves on building great working relationships. In a week where love hearts were everywhere, there were loads of articles about how to love your clients, but very few about how to be loved as a client!
Why is that important? Well, here’s the thing: when your agency or other supplier adores you, they’ll always pick up the phone to you, go that extra mile when you need them to and they can be a real asset to growing your business.
We counted seven things our most-loved clients do…
1) A shared vision – We always establish what outcomes you’d love when we first meet and continue to check in regularly to make sure our relationship is still on track.
Give your agency a clearly defined brief, yes, but if they ask you to fill out a questionnaire or ask a lot of questions, like we do, spend the time doing this properly as it’s an essential part of the process. Like a pre-nup, establishing a written scope of works, costs, outcomes, stakeholders and approval processes/timings at the start of a project will bode well for your relationship and stop you falling out of love with each other further down the line.
We understand that circumstances may change over time, but make sure to tell your agency as early on as possible. As in all good partnerships, keep communication open and maintain trust.
Our best clients consider us part of their team, rather than just a supplier.
2) Mutual Respect – Unless they are in-house, your agency will have other clients and commitments. At InnerVisions ID we believe work-life balance leads to better creative work – in fact studies show that creativity needs time to ‘breathe’ and develop, so a decent amount of notice is always much appreciated! It’s not respectful to ask for something ‘yesterday’ and expect the team to work all hours to meet your deadlines if you haven’t been organised enough.
Creatives are also hugely passionate about their craft, but as in a great first date, they should make you feel listened to and understood rather than talked at. So as in all the best marriages, it helps if you too listen, respect their views too and know that their aim is to get you a brilliant end result.
3) Keep your word – We always strive to meet our client deadlines, but a delay on your side can mean a delay on the completion date. Don’t underestimate how much more time it will take to get decisions made by a committee if need be, and do not add more stakeholders in the middle of a project as they’ll no doubt want to go back and change things that have already been approved (this has happened to us…)
Also, if you’re undertaking a project that requires you to get information, copy or images to the agency, make sure you deliver on time. Actually, the best clients we have worked with had most of their collateral ready to go before they came to us!
4) Know what you want – We love clients who can make a decision. Yes, we know when faced with an array of ideas you love, making a decision can be tough, but there will likely be numerous choices to make as part of a creative process. We can only advise, but ultimately it’s your choice. Indecision can not only lead to frustration and delays, but too many revisions can also get expensive. So, trust your feelings, listen to those you trust and love (if you need to!) and go for what will truly make you happy.
5) Trust – You’ve chosen your agency because you loved their work and trust they will give you a great outcome, so trust in their opinion if they are trying to advise you.
Don’t stand over them, micro-managing their work every step of the way. Obviously, your agency should always work collaboratively with you, and if there is something you’re not happy with, tell them!
But if you are too prescriptive, reject their advice, hack up their ideas and ask them to copy your PowerPoint-creations they will not feel appreciated or trusted and their heart will sink every time you call.
6) Manners – Great agencies put their heart and soul into their work but they can be populated by sensitive creative types – so remember to treat them gently with polite, constructive feedback and saying please and thank you – it will make all the difference to how they respond and how far they will go for you.
7) VGSOH – personality, rapport, laughter and a sense of humour will help massively when things go wrong, or if you hit a challenging stage of a project (and the longer you work together the more chance this will happen). Over time, a lot of our clients have become true friends and the loyalty and love runs deeper than just a working relationship. These are people we enjoy spending time with too! That is how you build a true partnership that lasts.
You will obviously choose your branding agency based on their work and reputation, but follow these tips and you will ensure your loved-client status and it will help you work together happily ever after.
If you are still looking for your ideal creative agency partnership and want branding that you truly love, then get in touch!