Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Advertising ...the art of Client Agency Relationships... part 7

Continued from Part 6 ........

Elements of the agency expectation pentagon(what the agency expects from the clients?



Candor is openness and throwing open channels of communication within and to the outside world, of the clients’ business. Organizations which practice candor, will forever be dynamic and with clear objects and goals and hence clear in their communication. Lack of candor results in accumulation of problems between the two partners and later on mostly ends up in the agency firing. Joanne Lipman quotes Ogilvy in the Wall Street Journal that “it is easier to fire your agency than to admit to your stock holders that there is something wrong with your product and management”. She lists out a series of agencies that had to bear the wrath of their furious clients “whose business problems weren’t caused –and almost certainly won’t be cured by advertising”

Ogilvy advised clients, to check how far the agency believes in candor. “If you say something stupid, do they have the spine to disagree?” If they do, they are ardent believers in candor, and it is better not to leave them to guess things.

An ideal state of candor practiced by the clients’ side would be a dream of every agency, as it knows that for such companies, the internal branding would be strong and deep to the core. External branding would be a blissful experience, then for the agency.
Rigidity in processes and filters and blocks in the communication networks, both horizontal and vertical, both within and the outside world, perhaps is the classic of agency complaints about any clients. Big or small, such clients exist as a pain for its agencies, which are relatively good, fast and efficient communicators and reciprocation from the clients.


Control – too much or too less of it -is a by-product of hierarchies and organization structures. Many corporates, still follow heavy hierarchical organization structures with levels and sub levels, and communications delays and hiccups are just common .Red tapism at the clients’ side is just as important an object of resentment as lack of candor, as far as agencies are concerned. Too many levels of decision making or rather the lack of it, failure to take decision, fear of risk as part of hierarchies are all common stumbles in the process of making CAS a reality. “To bore or bully the agency like this will be depleting the agency of its creative fire power”

Clients should have control over the situation and the levels of decision-making should be cut short. Agencies are not mere vendors and it is unfair to make them run from pillar to post. Such clients gave rise to the famous quote: “Clients get the advertising they deserve”.

The philosophy of the clients business should be shared with the agency to make the give and take partnership which I would like to call Client Agency Synergy, become true.

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