Considering that clients and agencies both work in communication, it’s amazing how dysfunctional they can be at communicating with each other. This is particularly clear in the creative process, from the brief to the creative review.
A creative execution is only as good as the relationship between the creative partners that produce that execution. How we show up to the relationship matters. Yet too often the dynamic is adversarial and combative.
Clients and agencies come to the table with different frames of reference. Clients are rooted in the business and customer experience. Agencies are rooted in the ideas.
At its best, those differing vantage points produce healthy tension that makes the work better. At its worst, it can turn into a tug-o-war that produces the lowest common denominator.
Too often what’s “on brand” is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Here’s one of my earliest cartoons, from 2003, on the client-agency relationship.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Rob Ramsey says
So true. I started in a new position about a year ago and met with the incumbent agency for the first time over lunch. The account person demonstrated his interest in establishing a relationship by bringing his head creative director along. It made a big difference in our conversations over lunch, setting the tone for the relationship and ultimately influencing what we achieved this year.
genuine laughter. In the cartoon you created, who is the client and who is the agency?