Building successful relationships between a client and an agency is vital for both parties and will not only make things more productive for everyone involved, but is more likely to lead to a long-standing partnership. But how do you build successful and authentic client and agency relationships? We’ve highlighted some key tips to consider for both parties.

Communication is key

Communication is so important when building successful client/agency relationships. However, when we think of communication, we usually think of someone speaking. In fact, research shows that only 7% of communication is verbal, with the other 93% being made up of non-verbal cues like body language.

With this in mind, it can be hard to really understand what someone is trying to communicate, especially when communicating digitally. Ask open questions to fully understand exactly what you’re hoping to achieve from your partnership. Together you can then agree concrete, tangible goals and KPIs.

When it comes to meetings or calls, make sure to send follow up notes with specific actions and deadlines so everyone knows what they need to do and when. Sending weekly performance updates is also a great way to benchmark how the relationship is going, and from my experience, this is something that can be really useful on the client side, as these quick updates include shareable snapshots of the success to date to send round their teams internally.

Bring solutions, not problems

Things are not always going to go according to plan. However it doesn’t always have to lead to a disaster.

It may be that you have a campaign you’ve been working on for months and then when you launch it, for some reason, it’s just not getting the results you’d have hoped. Or, even worse, someone else has launched a similar campaign at the same time.

When things go wrong, the key is to not panic. Before you go back to your client, take a step back, re-plan your approach, and then when you have a new plan of attack, let your client know. Find solutions to these temporary obstacles and be transparent with the client about the situation and the steps you are going to take to solve it.

If you’re on the client side, and there are obstacles you’re facing internally; for example, your design and development team is overstretched and unable to produce campaigns on-time, voice any concerns with the agency as they may be able to offer temporary solutions as well as a long-term plan to ensure workloads are managed effectively in the future.

A problem shared is a problem halved and all that… and as I previously mentioned, a good agency should create solutions, not problems.

Go above and beyond

Whilst achieving KPIs is great, think about creative and innovative ways to go beyond this. At c3, we use our in-house model Strategic Creativity, an approach based around three things: planned campaigns, reactive and proactive work. The planned campaigns are always working to generate links. Meanwhile, we are always looking for proactive opportunities for our client such as securing a speaking opportunity for the CEO of a business, or reacting to the news agenda and providing quotes from the client about their sector and the news story around this

Another way to do this could be to provide useful insights that the client may be able to use elsewhere in the business. For example, this could be search volumes for specific keywords/emerging trends that had previously not been considered but could provide a new revenue stream.

On the client side, if you have an idea that you want to run past your agency, speak directly to them about this as it could prove to be both useful and lucrative. Similarly, if the business decides to explore a new service or product, speak to the agency about how you may be able to amplify this, as they may have some great ideas which you may not have considered.

Team work really does make the dream work

It’s cheesy, but it’s true! Be an extension of each other’s teams. For both clients and agencies, get to know the people within the business – at the very least getting to know the team dynamic, and being able to have a laugh amongst all the work will make things more enjoyable.

Also, familiarise yourself with the client’s marketing activity. Sign up to their newsletter, follow their social media accounts. Find out what they’re up to, as you never know, it might inspire some more ideas for your brand too.

For more information on our ways of working, head to our about us page, or follow us on Twitter for more insights from our team!

Bex Fairbrother

Bex Fairbrother

PR Strategist