Tip 3 - Advice for agencies looking for an edge - A clients perspective.







"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a  person.  You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."  Jeff Bezos

It can be an awkward dance - the one between an agency and a client. Who leads? At what tempo? Is it a waltz, rumba or salza? Through all the mystery and suspense one thing is certain. There is only one prize... and the client decides who they will add to their brand dance card.

3. The brand is everything.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been contacted by an agency that wanted a chance to win a piece of our business but hadn’t taken the time to understand our brand. Agencies often have a tendency to make it all about them—their competencies, their awards and their ideas—even their other clients.

So here’s a tip from someone who’s been on the other side. We don’t care as much as you’d like us to. We’d prefer to hear that you’ve done your homework and have taken time to get familiar with our brand; that you’ve shopped our stores, tried our products, called our service centers and visited with our employees. Stand in the customers’ shoes. Learn something about our history, our values and our promise. If you haven‘t done your homework, you’ll find that we won’t be very good listeners.

And lastly, agencies need to trust and respect their clients. Trust that the client is in touch with its brand, its industry and knows what’s worked and what hasn’t. Respect that the client understands what will resonate with the internal culture and employees who live the brand from the inside out.

Never forget that your client is responsible for the brand and makes all the final decisions. Everything that goes with the brand is owned by the client; including awards, rewards, successes and, yes, the missteps. Respect that the client’s leaders are going to make the best decisions for the company—not necessarily for the agency. Don’t pout or whine just because they’re not doing it your way—there’s a reason for the decision and it’s probably a good one. You are accountable to your client. And to your client, the brand everything.

Your comments, suggestions, and stories of your personal edge are always welcome in my guest book.

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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