What’s the secret of a great relationship between a creative agency and its clients?

David Ives-Farren
  • David Ives-Farren
  • Creative Director

So much hinges on our relationships in life. If it didn’t, there would be billions of pounds knocked off a thriving self-help market. Whether it’s your relationship with a significant other, your boss or your pub landlord, a good relationship is the absolute foundation of hassle-free, stress-free living.

One of the great things about working for a leading creative agency is that we get to work with a wide range of businesses. Large or small, our relationships with all our clients are an essential component to delivering the results they want. Here’s a look into the way we work at those relationships.

This could be the start of something

When it comes to business, our relationships with partner organisations and service organisations are crucial. Healthy business relationships help ambitions and goals to be fully realised, more easily achieved and created to a higher standard.

Building a good relationship makes all aspects of collaboration between the creative agency and client so much easier.

A relationship creates a true partnership, where both agency and client are focused on mutual aims. You know you can achieve something great together and you work in partnership to make it happen.

That leads to the kind of enthusiasm and team working that fires people up and gets brilliant results. You’re working together, supporting each other in reaching the same goal. Equality and respect are essential.

Let’s be honest…

Honesty, openness and integrity are the foundations of any healthy relationship. If you don’t get this right at the outset, you could be creating problems further down the line. In other words, when you first set out on a project, it’s important to be upfront about things like:

  • A realistic budget
  • Feasible timescales
  • Resources, including time commitment
  • What is achievable

In an open, honest business relationship, all ideas and viewpoints can be expressed and raised. In turn, the creative agency and client can then work together to establish a realistic and productive way to incorporate the relevant parts to achieve client goals.

We need to talk

Communication. It’s probably the most important part of any relationship. In an agency setting, that communication can be multi-layered with several players contributing to a design or marketing project.

Clear channels of communication need to be established at the outset, managing expectations and creating a clear and easy path for information.

Good communication between a creative agency and client includes:

  • Clarification of the brief, with all aspects clearly defined and understood by both parties.
  • Understanding of all the objectives at the outset, in order to create a plan that will meet them.
  • Regular reviews of activity throughout the process, including evolutionary updates and online proof amendments.

Clear, open communication not only keeps your project on track – it also helps to maintain momentum towards final approval and sign-off of the project.

Fancy a date?

Dates, timescales and other deliverables are an important part of both communication and openness. They’re also apt to change as a project develops. That’s fine, and to be expected – just as long as everyone is in the loop about what’s going on.

It’s therefore vital that the designer and account manager at your creative agency outline and communicate progress and updates regularly and honestly on elements such as:

  • Timescales
  • Creative proposals
  • Budgets

No nasty surprises, please! When every stage of the project is clear to the client, then that client is reassured, satisfied and happy.

Going steady

When you find the right partner, going steady can really open up your world. The best design and marketing agencies thrive on long-term relationships with their clients. As the relationship endures, so does the understanding between both partners. That understanding fuels creativity alongside the kind of commercial insight which builds a succession of profitable marketing campaigns and design projects.

The best relationships don’t have to be complicated, and sometimes you have to work at them a little. Start by addressing and implementing the tried and tested tips from The Graphic Design House and your client-agency relationship should be a successful and prosperous one.