Establishing a strong client/marketing agency relationship is vital to your branding and marketing efforts. It is essential to understand the pieces of your creative puzzle and how to work with your marketing agency to best develop these elements into a cohesive, successful strategy.

We recently presented several tips to maximize your PR efforts in this KM101 article, which discussed working hand-in-hand with your agency and internal staff to develop your marketing process. The information in that article gives you the tools to define your strategy, remove pain points that prevent success, and ensure that the two-way communication between your staff and your agency is seamless. Combined, these two articles give you what you need to supercharge your marketing campaigns.

  • Know Your Brand — Whether your brand has a well-defined brand book or not, your brand has a “look.” And if it doesn’t, it should. You should understand what works and doesn’t work for your brand and where you want to take it with the help of the creative team at your agency. Whether it is the colors you use in your logo or the message your advertising sends to your customers, you need to know the successful and unsuccessful elements.
  • Know Your Likes & Dislikes — Let’s face it: art is subjective, and not all creative content is created equal.
    • Whenever possible, it is good to let the creative team know what you love and what you never want to see affiliated with your brand before sending them into the abyss. It is more effective to stop a thought process you don’t care for early than to let them pursue a direction that doesn’t work for you.
    • The more details you can give about what you like and dislike, the better your creative relationship will be. The creative team will have a better idea of which direction to take your projects, and you’ll be happier with the results they provide to you.
  • Understand Your Budget —Like with anything, the sky is the limit for designing creative content. Having a budget in mind helps to set realistic goals, timelines, and expectations. Your agency’s creative team can best allocate its assets when they know the specific constraints to their process.
  • Create with a purpose — Artists create for the sake of creating. Marketers create with a goal in mind. To have a successful campaign, you need to assign a clear intent to every piece of collateral. Impactful content creation starts by asking several questions: the who, what, when, where, and why.
    • Who is this targeting, and what are their demographics?
    • What are we promoting? Is it brand awareness, product features, events, or something else?
    • Where are we publishing the content: on social media, in print publications, on TV?
    • When is the content being released? Are there relevant events, an update for a new season, or a product for consumers to purchase?
    • Why are we creating this, and what is the end goal? Awareness, newsletter signups, event RSVP, or transactions and conversions?

Having the answers to these questions prepared for your agency’s creative team helps determine the type of content they need to create for the campaign and understand where the content fits your overall marketing strategy.

  • Hand over the keys (brand assets) — Once you have a plan, it’s time to execute that to completion. To promote efficiency, the creative team should have all brand assets in hand as soon as possible.
    • Logo
    • Fonts
    • Color Palette
    • Any relevant photography and video assets

  • Understand the Process — Even with careful planning, the creative process can be, well, a process. If you’re lucky, the first attempt hits the nail on the head. More often than not, there will be revisions to the project’s individual components to dial in the client’s perfect solution. Know that each revision will get you closer to the finished product. It’s essential to note any modifications so that the creative team can implement them all at the same time to limit the back-and-forth between client and agency. It’s also helpful to plan the rounds of revisions to fit the timeline for the completed project. There are several steps to this, which include:
    • Project Ideation
    • Comps
    • Revisions
    • Project Completion
  • Offer Critique — Even when a project is finished, take the time to go over the execution. What hit the nail on the head, and what missed the mark? This post-project analysis is a crucial step to take with your creative agency because it will give a stronger foundation to collaborative projects as your partnership moves forward.

The agency/client relationship’s success hinges on the level of collaboration, openness, and honesty regarding projects, expectations, deliverables, and completed successful campaigns. When both parties enter the agreement with a complete understanding of the association, what the shared goals are and how to achieve them, there is a much higher likelihood of triumph at the end of the creative tunnel.