The Thriving Projects Series 2: Team work

2. Teamwork makes the dreamwork

A thriving client-agency relationship can be hard to come by, whether you have experience working with creative agencies or not, finding the right partner can seem like a daunting task.

Here are a few factors that we think contribute towards successful client-agency collaboration:

Building strong foundations
A strong relationship between agency and client will lay the foundations for truly great work. From the first meeting, a good creative partner should be keen to hear about your journey so far, your challenges with previous agencies, and what your ambitions are for the future. This will give them a chance to get to know you and build a picture of what you need from them, it will establish trust and the creative process will get off to a flying start.

"A good creative partner should be keen to hear about your journey so far."

Create and maintain a culture of honesty and trust
Trust is a major factor in agency-client collaboration, creating an environment that feels like a safe space for honest communication will help both sides feel valued and empowered to do their best to make this project a success.

Your agency should keep you involved and updated where necessary. If they present a concept that doesn’t tick your boxes, you as the client should feel comfortable voicing this. Your agency should be capable of asking the right questions to understand where you’re coming from. It’s vital that both sides feel able to air their perspectives and feel confident that all opinions will be heard, everyone should know that nothing is personal, it’s all about trying to get the best possible result.

You wouldn’t be working together if you didn’t have mutual respect so build on this, schedule regular, ongoing conversations, discuss what’s working and what isn’t, and trust in the process that you’ve agreed. However, if either the client or the agency feels that the system is losing its way, or that the partnership has become disconnected, it’s on everyone to re-build that communication.

"Discuss what’s working and what isn’t, and trust in the process that you’ve agreed."

Think long-term
It can take time to establish a way of working that suits both sides, if you’re invested in your partner, you’ll be more likely to want to maintain the relationship and keep communication friendly, open, and honest. You’ll both feel able to communicate how you can do things better next time, maybe a few more calls to discuss feedback would have cleared up any misunderstandings, or perhaps a meeting to get some varied perspectives before the brief has been written would be a great benefit. Over time you’ll build your relationship, grow trust, and develop your way of working, whilst producing truly brilliant work together.

Set expectations early and often
Define what success means for this project together as part of the first stage. For the designer, success could be an impactful concept that hasn’t been watered down or overcomplicated. For you as the client, the definition of success might be that the project comes in on budget, it’s attracted plenty of leads, or perhaps your employees are noticeably more engaged as a result. Both parties should voice these expectations and agree that these principles can be protected throughout. This will maintain the authenticity of the project and keep you all on the same page.

Effective teams should also agree on who’s doing what from a practical point of view. Who’s supplying/commissioning the copy and images, is there a need for a printer photographer or illustrator, who’s going to source them and request costs? Would it be preferable for the agency to take care of that side of things or would you rather manage it yourself?

Ask for help
As the client, if you’re wondering what the best way of getting the project approved by your fellow stakeholders is, remember that you’re not on your own. Your agency will understand that you need tangible results, and they’ll understand that you are required to keep everyone in the loop regularly. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice on how to set expectations and present creative work to your stakeholders. A good agency will have plenty of ideas on how to get them on board and keep things that way, so they don’t have any unexpected surprises.

Collaboration not dictation

At every stage of collaboration, a good creative partner will be looking to learn more and to improve on their method. Whether your feedback is positive, negative, or a little bit of both, your agency can use these new perspectives to inform the development stage and the approach taken with future projects. You know more about your business and the market that you’re in than anyone else, this means that your role in the project is a vital one, your creative partner can use your insights to create something truly unique. In our opinion, this kind of collaboration is key when crafting a thriving project.

"You know more about your business and the market that you’re in than anyone else."

Your success is their success and that’s a good thing
It’s in your agency’s interests to do the very best job they can for you, it’s their reputation that’s on the line as well as yours. The more they get to know about your strategy and goals the better job they can do in the interest of your brand, your target audience, and their reputation. It’s a win-win.

 

Wondering if Haycraft Creative 
could be the right creative partner for you?

Let’s explore the possibilities of working together! Get in touch today.

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