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"Like any good relationship there has to be respect, there has to be trust, there has to be a level of autonomy"

Some of the world’s leading advertising agencies give their views on what advertisers need to do to make a great partnership.

We often focus on what agencies can do to create a better partnership with advertisers but rarely do we ask what advertisers should do.

At the Effie Europe Awards, the WFA asked some of the winning agencies what they thought made the difference and allowed them to create brilliant and effective campaigns.

Many of the points they made reflect WFA research, particularly our recent Agency Management study conducted with Observatory International, but they also highlighted other areas where different advertiser behaviour could ensure the partnership is more productive.

Of course, they talked about long-term partnerships and the trust that can be established over time but they also raised issues of clarity, autonomy and openness.

“Like any good relationship there has to be respect, there has to be trust, there has to be a level of autonomy,” said Harjot Singh, Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup and Jury Co-Chair for Effie Europe 2019.

Agencies on what makes a client a good partner

As in the Agency Management report, they praised the value of spending time together but also called on clients to open their businesses to agencies.

“They allow you to find out more by delving into that business, talking to people who are closer to the problem than maybe the marketing team, maybe the buyers, maybe the manufacturing team, maybe the store itself,” said Darren Hawkins, Group Strategy Director at McCann Manchester.

The big idea that everyone agreed on was co-creation, the need to work together to build ideas that resonate. Both sides needed to let go of the concept of ownership and be happy to share ideas freely until the really valuable ones emerge.

This idea also followed through when it came to briefing, where clarity and brevity were critical. Briefing was also identified as a capability gap for many WFA members in the Agency Management study and none of the respondents said they were excellent at it.

The agency partners at the Effies advised that clarity on what the brand was trying to achieve and also limiting goals to key areas was critical. Too many objectives made it impossible to hit any of them.

Agencies on what makes great briefing

Again, co-creation was suggested as an important element. So rather than simply handing down a fixed brief, agency and advertiser should work on ideas together as a team with the initial challenge of leaving the door open for a range of creative solutions.

“The best briefing is a two-way street. So usually the clients come up with a whole briefing and they come to an agency and state their view but I find that it works best when the client has a rough idea they put it down on paper and they discuss it openly with the agency. So the agency still has some room to see the problem from a different perspective with fresh eyes,” said Hiam Hamed, Team Lead at Imago Ogilvy Croatia.

To download the full report, please click here.

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