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Roses, Chocolates, and Invoices

Roses, Chocolates, and Invoices

Let’s just establish right out of the gate that you really don’t have to love your ad agency. At least not in a literal sense, even if the agency principal is ridiculously pretty and a little bit flirtatious. But as we celebrate love as a community let’s take a moment to talk about the type of relationship that must exist so that agencies can maximize their ability to positively impact your brand.

I want to be clear here too that this blog is not specific to us but relative to all agencies who consummate their love for their clients with a monthly invoice. I also want to make it clear that the last time I checked, our agency principal was very happily married to a hunk of a man. (her words, not mine)

So finding an agency is not entirely different from finding a life partner.

As usual, I’m going to ask that you stay with me here.

You’re a business and you’re out there in the business world doing business things. At some point you think, “I have needs and I need someone to fulfill these needs…” (which sounds dirty and maybe that’s on purpose). So you ask your friends if they have any agencies they can introduce you to or perhaps you go to a bar and chat up agency types over a glass of wine. You could also, like many people do these days, go online to see if you can find a good agency match there.

It doesn’t matter how you find them, it’s just important that you find the right one.

Once you’ve gotten through the awkward first conversations, it might be wise to do some digging on your new agency interest. Check with their current partners to see if they are satisfied with them, take a look at what their work looks like, perhaps even get a sense of their personality/culture. Does it vibe with yours?

Once you get beyond all the initial back and forth make sure you commit to an agency that has your best interests at heart. I know this sounds harsh but some do not and they still manage to have lots of partners because of the way they put themselves out there (which also sounds dirty but maybe that’s also on purpose).

At some point during your courtship, there should have been discussion as to just how far you are willing to go with this new agency. We call that budget. A loving and caring agency should steward that budget as though it was their own. If they don’t, you may be in a bad relationship.

Deciding to go steady with an agency requires you to trust them. Trust doesn’t mean you immediately make room in your drawer for them; it means you need to let them do the job you hired them to do. Hiring an agency and then dictating how they do things is the sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Here’s the important message I want to be sure to convey. A client, agency relationship needs to be a positive one for both partners. If you’re the type of client that doesn’t trust an agency to be faithful in the execution of their job or if you feel that they are not making the right decisions for your brand, then you need a new relationship. Conversely, as an agency, you need clients that are good communicators, trust you and treat you well, which doesn’t sound dirty at all.

Business relationships are not really that different from personal ones … we should all be striving to have good ones. If you don’t think your agency is right for you or perhaps your client has commitment issues, then finding a new relationship might be what’s best for both of you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ed Olsen is the president/owner of ReThinc Advertising and Public Relations. He has lots of opinions on all things marketing. To read more of them, click here.

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