Agency-client relationships today are like a series of bad romances. At the heart of it is a mismatch of expectations that begin with the pitch.
As clients, you are under enormous pressure to deliver results while cutting costs and driving transformation in a rapidly evolving environment. Calling for a pitch is an easy way to fish for ideas without commitment.
And agencies, desperate for business, are casting their nets wider while making do with fewer resources.
The result: a never-ending cycle of disillusionment for both client and agency.
- No time to think.
If you expect your agencies to do your thinking for you, think again. Agencies often don’t have the time or the resources. And pitches aren’t the best way to unlock smart thinking.
- Pricing not ideas.
The spec work that agencies freely give away at pitch stage is rarely the work that gets released. It’s a waste of time and effort because you'd typically end up squeezing agencies on scopes that look like wish lists.
- ‘Pitch and Switch’.
Who you meet at the pitch is not who you get day to day. Shrinking retainers mean agencies increasingly depend on young, less experienced talent to service the account. Meanwhile, agency bosses have their focus turned to more pitching, backslappy awards and Cannes.
Let’s face it, the pandemic has broken down walls in working processes. The era of the ‘Big Reveal’ is over.
Marketing is about more than just about advertising or social media. It's highly complex, fragmented, data-driven and specialised.
Multiple agencies and partners are needed to create the right content for the right medium. Not surprisingly, breaking through the ensuing noise and clutter with a coherent story is even harder.
If you want to unlock smarter thinking on your brand and business, then we can't fall back on the same tired ways of working - hoping for radically better results from the usual staid inputs. A different approach is needed.
We start by asking the question: Is what you are doing still relevant?
And then follow it up with:
- Concise narrative: Boiling down to a concise and compelling narrative of your core proposition and communicating it so everyone in the company understands their role in the transformation. Building a brand is not the job of the marketing department, but of the whole organization.
- Clear process: Following a design thinking process with your team to have the hard debates about what to do, in what order. And investing in things you believe in. Our Sprints are workshops customised to your needs and designed to get to answers and alignment faster.
- Culture: Creating an environment where people feel safe to voice their point of view without fear of failure, fear of change, fear of technology, or fear of reorganisation. We work together across disciplines bringing in the right partners where needed— to deliver uncommon thinking and solutions.
It’s a shift from flashy presentations on pitch day to pragmatic conversations on the brand and business. From showmanship to speed. From spec work to a team that thinks and solves problems to unlock business growth.
Because it’s only when both sides feel invested in the relationship that you get great outcomes. Otherwise, it’s over before it's even begun.