Forming a strong long-term partnership with an agency can create long term success for your business, building effective workflows and solid collaboration.
With the abundance of digital agencies, which only continues to grow as we move even further into a digital first world, it’s quite easy to try and use that competitive market to get the lowest price on your next project. While this may help reduce your costs in the short term, you’ll quickly learn that the longer term affects from inconsistent work are much more costly and damaging to your business. Jumping between different agencies restricts your brand from evolving under the creative guidance of a single digital and strategic team. The likelihood, it will become disjointed and splintered as conflicting visions result in a subpar outcome, poor user experience and potential missed opportunities.
To ensure the best results in building a healthy, dynamic and consistent brand for your business, you need to develop a tight partner relationship with the right agency. Building this relationship will lead to more prosperous and satisfying deliverables, as your chosen agency partner begins to share your vision and work with you over a longer period to make that a concrete reality.
What you should expect working with an agency
To get the most value from your partnership, you need to make sure you’ve picked the right agency. Have an open and honest conversation with members from both sides, about values, processes and other factors besides just the price. This will help you choose a team that’s going to help get the results you’re looking for, not just be the cheaper option.
You should choose an agency that is going to push your brand and really challenge the potential deliverables. A strong agency will expect clients to follow their lead, leaving their expert strategists, designers and developers to do what they’re best at. They should be able to listen to what you want and provide visual and functional concepts that you can easily apply to your business model. Your chosen agency needs to understand your revenue streams and target audience as much as you do. This takes time to build that relationship and true understanding. Here at Brave Little Tank, we’re not yes men and will challenge our clients if we think something isn’t right or if there could be a better solution.
Settling into a long-term partnership will take some time and adjustments as you begin to learn more about each other and your workflows, sometimes there will need to be compromises to satisfy everyone involved. Getting these good processes established early on will mean you’ll get the benefits of a long-term agency partnership much quicker. Hopping between different agencies, having to learn new approaches to project management and administration will quickly waste massive amounts of time. Productivity is much lower and most businesses can’t afford these setbacks.
How to work with an agency
Over the years as an agency we have learnt that a good partnership should be treated like any other relationship, and this means keeping communication open and active is absolutely key. Being honest and frank about what you’re expecting will help the right agency learn to provide what you’re looking for. There is nothing wrong with not liking a concept, or finding something that doesn’t align with your brand, as long as it isn’t personal then we’ll all be able to get along fine. Make sure to listen to the choices they’ve made when creating something, but don’t stop from sharing your opinion if you don’t feel it’s right.
Learning to give constructive negative feedback is really important. Rejecting work because you just don’t think it feels right, for whatever reason, isn’t helpful for either party. It’s ok to be unsatisfied with deliverables from time-to-time, aim to use these as teachable moments when you can work with your agency to get a better understanding of what you like and dislike, and most importantly WHY you like or dislike it. This helps build a stronger relationship that will benefit you even more over time.
To help keep the confusion between both parties down to a minimum, assign an agency contact person. They’re your key point of communication via email and any other project management tools that are used to ensure streamlined and coordinated messages come from your company. When you have too many voices such as management, marketing teams, technical teams all speaking to your agency, confusion and mixed messages can occur and the project direction may drift from its original course. Having a single point of contact ensures your feedback can be gathered and unified before passing over to your agency to shorten the path to successful results. BLT always dedicates an account manager to each of our clients to help keep the relationship humming along nicely, with specialists joining in when needed.
What are your responsibilities
Your primary responsibility is to be able to communicate your company’s vision and long-term aim. By doing this, your chosen agency will be able to help build a clearer path to get you there. If you can inspire them with a strong passionate vision, you’re likely to bring out the best from their strategic, digital and creative abilities and lead to much more successful outcomes that helps drive your business further forward.
We mentioned before that feedback is a crucial part of any agency relationship, and it should be a strong focus of yours. Giving thoughtful, thorough, constructive feedback on all the deliverables your agency partner provides will help them align with your expectations much better. This includes getting a real understanding of what resonates with your target audience.
A reputable agency is going to want nothing more than to help your business succeed, bringing a positive attitude to the partnership and a relief belief in their abilities is only going to make that desire stronger. Growing a fruitful agency partnership comes from high levels of optimism, professionalism and focus. No matter which agency you end up choosing, remember they’re there to help support and grow your business. Following these steps will help you achieve a long-term agency partnership that evolves as you both grow.
If you’d like to talk to me about building a partnership, then drop me a message and I’ll be super excited to see where BLT can help your business.