Briefing your agency: how to work together to get the outcome you want
Our account director Anna Flanders spent 11 years client-side before embracing agency life, so is perfectly positioned to know how to get the best out of your relationship.
As a client, my best client-agency relationships came when I felt the agency I was working with was an extension of our in-house team. Here, I’ve shared my tips for integrating your agency into your team to help you both achieve the best outcome from the work you do together.
Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve
Being unequivocal about what you want is essential for actually getting what you want! As well as giving your agency objectives for marketing and communications, make sure you share your overall business goals with them too. That way it’s clear what you need to achieve and how their work will fit into the bigger picture. Work together to agree how you’ll measure and monitor progress and how you will judge the success of the work they do for you.
Put time in up front
You live and breathe your business but no matter how much research your chosen agency has done – and if they impressed enough to win your pitch, they will have done plenty – you will still need to spend some time bringing them up to speed. Whether it’s the history of your company, available budget, priority target audiences, background to the people they’ll work with (or need to impress!) or detail about the products or services you offer, there’s plenty of knowledge to impart and investing time into this up front will pay off.
Get the right people involved
Your agency may need to work with many different people inside and outside of your organisation so giving them the opportunity to build relationships with these people is important. Engage relevant colleagues or stakeholders in the project by bringing them into the process at the right time. Talking to more people will also help bring your business to life for your agency and allowing people to talk directly can make things much more efficient for everyone!
Let them know what’s out of bounds
It may be that you’ve tried something before and it didn’t work, or simply that your CEO has a particular pet hate and you know you’ll never get an idea signed off, no matter how good it is (we’ve all been there)! Either way, sharing any ‘no gos’ up front means everyone’s time is spent generating ideas of things you can do.
As close as your relationship might be, the reality is that your agency isn’t as immersed in your business as you are, so it’s important to make sure you are keeping them in the loop and share any key updates so they don’t miss out on potential opportunities for you.
Always be mindful of how developments in your project or business may affect the work your agency doing for you – that little nugget of information might be a great press hook or spark a creative idea you’d not considered.
Don’t be afraid to let them get on with it!
Trusting your agency to get on with it is important for you both. Whether you brought an agency on board for their expertise or to support with capacity, micro-managing is not good for either of you! Agree up front how you’ll work together, how and when they’ll update you on progress and how the sign-off process will work, and then let them crack on.