The Art of Building Partnerships

116 & West

In all honesty, it’s not easy to build successful partnerships. It takes a lot of trust, collaboration, compromise, and patience to create a strong relationship between an agency and client.
We are humans with our own unique thoughts and emotions, working in a business that relies on our relationships. Communicating effectively is a major challenge – especially when we bring our passions, personalities, and diverse perspectives into the mix. So how can you build a strong partnership with your agency without compromising your beliefs and ideas?
It starts with honesty and empathy. As your agency, we understand that marketing and advertising is a high-pressure piece of your business. We know that you’re investing a lot in your upcoming campaign, and you want more than flashy creative and an ad on the hottest new digital media platform. You want results.
As your account executive, it’s my job to help you achieve those results. My role in all of this is pretty dynamic: I’m your agency contact, liaison, project manager, brand advocate, account planner, budget manager, and strategic partner. I wear a lot of hats every day so that I can keep a strong, holistic pulse on all of your efforts and help you achieve your goals. I want to be more than your executional vendor – I really want to be your strategic partner.
 If I had to write the recipe for a successful partnership between an account executive and client, it would include these five honest thoughts from an AE’s perspective:

  1.  You are the expert when it comes to your brand. My team knows marketing and advertising, but I trust you to be the expert on your brand and industry. I will absorb everything you tell me about your organization and learn how to speak your language, but I will still rely on you to be my support when a tough question comes up about your brand. All of our efforts will be stronger when we both bring our expertise to the table and work together as a united team.
  2. I am your advocate. I believe in my team and want to use their talents to elevate all of your efforts. I may ask tough questions, dig into the “whys” behind your edits, or push for unique creative and strategic media buys. I want us to launch a great campaign and see impressive results. At the same time, I want you to trust me and know that I will be your voice within the agency. I promise to share your perspectives and concerns with my team and find a way for us to meet somewhere in the middle. My ultimate goal is for you to be happy, feel heard, and know that you are valued.
  3. I want you to ask questions. If our strategy behind a media plan doesn’t make sense or the scope of work I just emailed you is confusing, let me know and we’ll talk through it. I know that sometimes our Mad Men jargon gets lost in translation and I want you to feel 100% confident in everything you’re signing off on. Your questions also help give me insight into your perspectives and expectations.
  4. I want you to be honest with me. Honestly. If you feel like our processes aren’t efficient or you don’t like the colors we chose for your logo, please tell me. I can sense when something’s off between us and I want to be on the same page, even if it takes a few uncomfortable conversations. When I understand your pain points, I can identify the root source of the issue and work with you to find a better solution.
  5. We are in this together and I want to be your partner. It’s my job to attend meetings, take notes, write emails, and coordinate project tasks, but I want our relationship to be more than executional. I genuinely want us to be partners in this marathon we run every week. I want us to end a month of hard work with a new brochure that you are excited to share at your next trade show. And after those especially challenging weeks, I’d love for us to call it an early Friday and meet for celebratory drinks.

With these five honest thoughts, I truly believe that any partnership between a client and an agency can grow into a healthy relationship that will enable both parties to win. Contact us to learn more about how we can partner with your business and grow together!