Collaboration – it’s a buzzword we hear all too often, and sometimes it’s easier said than done when it comes to being more involved with our clients, and, when needs be, other agencies. Projects which utilise a range of talent (including the client’s specialist knowledge or their product or service) 9 times out of 10 produce better results than a solo effort. Ever heard the saying jack of all trades and master of none? Every agency has its strengths, so what can we do to work together more effectively?
A long-lasting and healthy agency-client relationship starts with a thorough on-boarding process and lays the foundations for an open and collaborative working environment. At this stage, we want to make sure both lead agency and client are clear on the following key elements:
If there are any question marks hanging over the project proposal, now is the time to address them.
Working together, not for one another
Getting to know each other properly is more than just a formality before the real work starts – it’s an important step in developing meaningful relationships. Whilst sounding a bit like a cliché, it’s a stage which is often brushed over. Providing an opportunity for teams to meet and bond can undoubtedly have the following benefits:
Assign teams and team leaders
Make sure a clear hierarchy is present on both agency and client side and connect the dots. Having the correct individuals interacting with one another saves time on forwarding messages and reduces the possibility of tasks not being completed because of miscommunication.
Getting more than one agency into the mix
It may feel somewhat counter intuitive for agencies to collaborate with another agency on projects, ultimately, they are likely to be a competitor. The best agencies, however, know when it makes sense to collaborate with another agency or consultant as there are several benefits:
All great collaborative efforts hinge on effective communication, whether it’s internally, with the client or between agencies. Too much of a good thing can be counterproductive, so it’s important to set boundaries, avoid fruitless meetings & calls and use the right tools to get the job done.
Arrange meetings/conference calls well in advance to give attendees enough time to prepare. Setting a clear agenda with a desired outcome at the end of the session will make the most of everyone’s time.
It’s worth investigating project management apps such as Asana, Trello and Hive to keep campaigns on track, especially useful when organising large teams. Messenger type apps such as Slack make for a much better alternative to email and keep things efficient in the long run – with grouped users and easy file sharing, mile-long email chains can be made a thing of the past.