Seven ways to get effective work from your ad agency

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As tempting as it is to simply point a finger and place blame, here are a few more tips that work better in the modern work place.

1. Communication. This is the key point from which all the others fall. As in so many things in life, just making the effort to express your thoughts and listen to those of others pays dividends. Deadlines, office cultures and different time zones can make it a challenge, but one you need to rise to or face eventual disappointment, frustration and perhaps the loss of goals.

2. Understanding Your Agency. Whether you hired them or even like them, you need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Do they communicate well? Are there egos creating impediments? Do you trust them as strategists? As creatives? As long-term planners? If you believe your key contact at the agency isn’t transmitting your wishes accurately, ask for one or more others to be brought into the loop. You’re the boss. You can do that.

3. Understanding Yourself. Apply much of the above thinking to your own company, especially to the people interfacing with the agency. Are their agendas in sync with yours? Are you communicating your wishes clearly to them? Do either or both of you know what you want from your advertising? You and yours must come to the war with a clear vision of what victory looks like. (Amazing how few do that. Don’t be one of them.)

4. Common Purpose. Assuming you’ve achieved points 2 and 3, you can align with the agency to share a goal. Most agencies will do their utmost to help you get there, IF they know where “there” is. Too many man hours have been lost by agencies foundering in the miasma of not being sure what the client wants. If both parties are truly conscientious, there is no reason for this to happen.

5. Partnership. You row my oar, I’ll row yours. Nothing will sink an effort faster than the lack of partnership. When there is success, include your agency in the revelry. When there is failure, call a discussion among the account heads on both sides to identify the “whys” and plan for better “hows.” Most agencies, when gaining your account, will begin to refer to your product or service as “our” product or service. Both sides of the business must avoid an “us and them” model, so you, too, must think in terms of “we.” Sounds simplistic, but the effects are quite profound.

6. Motivation. This is a corollary of #5, but it’s important enough to have its own rubric. Motivation: We all respond better to it than condemnation. Instead of pointing fingers when there’s been a disaster, be an adult and find where the blame lies—even if it is with you—and use your managerial skills to help everyone get back on course before losing much time dead in the water.

7. Persistence. It’s as with those inspirational speakers and their spiels for “getting rich” or “losing weight” or “having more energy.” You must stick with it or you’ll see short-term gains turning to long-term disappointments. Make communication with your agency part of your culture. Keep “positive” top of mind. Go forth and conquer!

– From the Brain Trust @ Creative Dimensions