NEXCUE Imagination Leadership

Inspire Your Agency Partner to Produce Elite Results

Inspire Your Agency Partner to Produce Elite Results

Working with your agency partner can be challenging at times. I have been on both sides—agency and client–so I know how it feels. I have three cues to help make the experience better and yield top results.

Clearly communicate the business objective for the campaign

When my young daughter comes to me in the middle of the night and expresses she is not feeling well, I ask her, “Where does it hurt?” I have made a promise to deliver my best care to her but that is predicated on me understanding her pain. Once I am clear, depending on the issue, I can provide a variety of cures. I know the communication loop is a lot more complex when developing marketing campaigns but that’s the reason the business objective needs to be clearly communicated. Creative people’s imagination is unbridled.  If you get frustrated because the solutions are not hitting the mark, that’s an indictor the objective is not clear. Top creative professionals will communicate why their solutions meet the objective during their presentation to you. And they will guide you down the best path.

Don’t micromanage the creative, collaborate with them

I know creativity is subjective and everybody’s taste is different. Yet, the reality is that some people are gifted, well-trained, and experienced at solving creative problems better than you. I am being honest, not defensive. It’s okay to collaborate. But if you begin dictating the execution, the results will not be as good as they can be. Rather, it can become demotivating because the creative can’t think outside of your paradigm since you are, essentially, directing them to think like you. If you are a hands-on client, which I respect, ask for rough sketches that flush out the campaign concepts and then discuss the various possibilities. If you are budget conscious, it’s cheaper to change it on paper than to build out the campaign and keep going with multiple rounds of revisions.

Be honest in your critique but not brutal

In college, I remember displaying my work for a critique by my professor and classmates. When some people used harsh and destructive language, it made it difficult to use their feedback to produce better work. Whether you are a thin- or thick-skinned person has NOTHING to do with it. It is unprofessional and unproductive to be a verbal pugilist when you are seeking a positive response from your agency partner. Frustration will never inspire performance. 

Frustration will never inspire performance.


If you need help   articulating your feedback without being medieval, consider these examples:

“It’s not clear to me how your solutions are meeting the objective (state it from the scope of work document or creative brief). Please explain.”

“Please highlight why you chose to pursue a path different than what we discussed.”

“Thank you for your ideas, but I think the message in option 2 is unclear.”

For more cues on how to empower yourself and others to excellence, visit my website nexcues.com.