In today’s digital world, companies still rely on agencies to help advance their visuals — from 2012 through 2016 (the most recent data year), revenue for digital-related services has steadily increased.
To capitalize on increased production — and keep the revenue trend rising — developing strong agency–client relationships is key. Whether you’re an agency taking on a new client or vice versa, clear communication can help teams on both sides of the equation maintain and strengthen relationships and meet project goals. Depending on the ask, consistent communication can help resolve any project challenges and overcome any obstacles.
Dive into Deadlines
A deadline — be it firm or flexible — is more than just a date on the calendar. It can represent anything from a print date to a conference to a product launch. Understanding the reasoning behind a deadline can help an agency make schedules more agile, process adjustments, or any other recommendation as to how to best achieve client goals. So companies, get ready to articulate your driving factors. With that knowledge at hand, agencies will be able to better navigate a project’s targets and help you meet your milestones.
Strategize for the Right Kind of Meeting
Whether an agency and client are across the country from one another or right down the block, it’s essential to make the most of meetings. Even if you feel too busy to chat (either by phone or in person), making the time to talk things out can protect you from missing subtext. Emails can lose tone and nuance — even a simple period can turn a statement from friendly to formal. If you or your team have important feedback or detailed questions, it can be more effective — for both project success and time efficiency — to talk by phone (or in person) rather than going back and forth by email.
Of course, that’s not to say that emails can’t be helpful. It all depends on the situation! Emails can help build open lines of communication between a client and agency and reinforce any stated “open-door policy” for questions and quick asks. Emails and meetings both have their time and place, so just make sure you’re using them to your — and your project’s — advantage.
Always Ask Why
If your inner child still asks “why” any time you learn something new, don’t hide them away. Developing a practice of finding those answers can help glean key information and improve communication. Why, you ask?
If you’re a company, your “why” starts with your reason for hiring an agency. Helping them understand not just your need but what brought you to this moment can help your agency do the most effective work — and work with you in the most effective way. When you’re in the midst of your project, digging into a like or dislike can identify what drives your gut reaction. Answering “why” can help differentiate between personal reactions and professional mandatories. If you’re an agency, articulating a “why” can help clients understand your thought process and how you apply their feedback to your deliverables. It also helps develop your accountability and can build credibility when you need to address any schedule, budget, or scope changes. Transparency through communication can build trust.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
In a client–agency relationship, communication does more than set project expectations. It builds trust, accountability, and credibility. It transforms a client-based structure into a partnership — and a partnership’s momentum can propel a project to exceed its goals and expectations. It takes time and work, but clear communication can make all the difference in a project’s success and help build a lasting relationship.
How do you create effective communication? Tell us here.