Have you ever had an irritating little computer problem that you just couldn’t figure out for the life of you? (If you work on a PC, I’m sure you can identify with this more than most). You try for what seems like ages to fix a formatting issue or convert a file properly, but you just can’t make it work. After exhausting all of your creative options (for me that means closing the program and re-opening the file) you finally cave and ask a co-worker for help. And of course, the moment they look over your shoulder they instantly know the answer.
Good agency relationships provide the same vital external input to marketing departments. Yes, internal marketing teams know the brand inside and out. They’ve spent countless hours pouring over research, reviewing sales data, and executing strategic plans. They have an in depth understanding of their product, the competitive landscape, and the target audience. But living and breathing the brand and being that close to a product can take its toll on a marketer’s ability to take a fresh look at things from an outside perspective. Enter the ad agency.
At the onset of a new client relationship, we as the agency are well aware that we don’t know the ins and outs of the brand the way the client does. But therein lies our strength. We have the unique privilege of being able to take an objective look at the big picture. Ask some new questions. Research the answers to the same old questions. Take (or at least recommend) some risks. Change up the creative execution. Explore a new strategy.
Now of course it’s not all rainbows and sunshine just because we get the opportunity to take a fresh look at things. We have to work collaboratively to leveraging the history and knowledge of the client’s marketing team with the creative and strategic talents of the agency. We may have different perspectives and roles, but in a great relationship we’re able to combine our efforts for an incredibly powerful end result, that ultimately benefits the brand.