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19 Jul 2018
BY Chris Bruce

Seeing it from both sides: How agencies and clients can sleep better at night.

Sleep is overrated, right?

Our Client Services Director, Chris, shares his thoughts on sleep deprivation and how it has made him think about the client - agency relationship.

Having recently become a Dad, I’ve quickly come to understand the true meaning of sleep deprivation.

There was once a time where six hours sleep was the end of the world and I felt ‘shattered’.

Oh, how naive I was.

My new, nocturnal way of life got me thinking. How could I not have known this was par for the course? The gulf between the fact that new Dads generally get less shut-eye and actually experiencing it first hand seemed vast.

It might be my sleep deprived brain but this realisation seemed similar to the distance that can sometimes creep into client-agency relationships, actually.

Sometimes clients make changes to work that has everybody in the agency flummoxed – why does the square now need to be a triangle and what was wrong with that shade of blue? What results is a lack of shared knowledge and both sides at a complete loss as to why the situation is the way it is.

Having worked client side for a number of years, I know that there’s often a crucial business reason behind changes to something that, at the agency’s end, might seem subjective.

This chopping and changing can sometimes be very frustrating for both parties. But next time there’s danger of the dummy getting spat out, there are a few practices that can help make life a whole lot easier. Walk with me...

Clients

  • Objective feedback – If there is a business reason, explain it, your agency will take it on board and keep it in mind for future projects
  • If it is subjective, be upfront about it – Don’t like the way that ad’s laid out? No problem, but be prepared for push back from the experienced people that have spent time and effort in doing their best work for you
  • Let your agency in – The more they understand your business, objectives, politics and environment, the better the work will be.

Agency

  • Creative feedback isn’t personal – Clients live and breathe their brand, they know it better than anybody else. There’s usually a commercial reason for whatever changes are being requested not to mention deadlines to meet, so try not to take offence at direct feedback
  • Ask for clarity – Understanding why changes have been requested can only help future projects
  • Get in there – Understanding your client’s business, internal politics, even when they take their lunch, will help you help them in getting work approved that everyone’s happy with. 

...And the key to everything? Open and honest communication.

Hiding behind emails and just doing what’s asked does nobody any good, we’ve all got to understand the reasoning behind each other’s actions and decisions.

The agency team are specialists in their field as are clients in theirs and the best outcome is always achieved when both parties come together as one team.

Anyway, I’m off to speak to my Son now and objectively explain why Dad needs a few more hours kip.

Fingers crossed he understands…