In my 16 years within an Agency and several years in-house with a Brand, I’ve experienced many different types of partnerships between agencies and clients. Some are very successful, some work … and frankly, some require tightrope walking and finger crossing from both directions (I am not just speaking from the agency side).
In the amazing, successful partnerships, along with those that are more challenging or don’t seem to flow as well, it’s always interesting for me to understand the “why”. That is what fuels MoreVisibility to be the best partner we can be; having that knowledge allows us to create a framework for both parties to succeed. Below are some of the main elements from this framework, in hopes they will help strengthen a Vendor-Client (Brand) partnership you are currently engaged with.
- Communication – An open and honest flow of information is critical, as is a regular schedule with dedicated and focused time to discuss important issues or evaluate progress.
- Transparency – Bilateral sharing of information is not only important, but required. The partner needs to understand history and prior wins and mistakes of the company. The Agency needs to be honest with the Client in terms of where its organizational strengths are and where it does not have in-house expertise.
- Expectations – It’s best to quickly establish the difference between what a company wants versus what the partner can deliver. Then outline mutually agreeable goals and timelines, with both parties committing to the requirements involved to get there.
- Measurement – What does success look like? How will we know when we get there or if we are on the path to getting there soon? Define key performance indicators and milestones along the way, to allow for redirection or change of strategy, if needed.
- Escalation Process – This section of the framework gets overlooked most often, yet it’s the one area that can help avoid or eliminate a major breakdown on either side. If elements of the communication and expectations framework aren’t working as they should be, this is an agreed upon and structured way for the Agency or Brand to immediately resolve.
Every partnership is different and some require a unique approach or adjustments in how either side operates, to be successful. However, if the above elements are discussed, agreed to, and outlined for both parties it’s more likely you will have a productive and valuable engagement.