Enhancing Client/Agency Relationships

In first quarter 2015, ANA conducted parallel surveys among ANA members and agencies on issues related to the client/agency relationship. The survey was completed by 126 ANA members and 105 agencies, providing the opportunity to compare and contrast responses from the two groups. A white paper was issued in April.

Key Findings

Clients and agencies agree that:

  • Their client/agency relationships are strong.
  • A long-term client/agency relationship is important.
  • They trust the other.

Further, both clients and agencies agree that the agency is a valued business partner, plays an important role in the client’s business strategy, and is influential in driving business results.

However, there are pockets of dissatisfaction.

  • Clients and agencies are not in agreement on whether clients provide clear assignment briefings to agencies. Only 27 percent of agencies believe clients do a good job (and zero percent strongly agree). However, 58 percent of clients think they perform well on briefs.
  • Clients and agencies are not in agreement that the client approval process works well. Only 36 percent of agencies are in agreement (and only 2 percent strongly agree) versus 54 percent of clients.
ANA Perspective

The brief is the foundation of the agency work product. Agencies emphatically believe that clients do not provide clear assignment briefings. Not a single agency respondent (out of 105), “strongly agreed” that clients provide clear assignment briefings to agencies! Clients must take note of this and commit to change. Bad briefs are frustrating to agencies and cost clients both time and money — for agency rework and the resulting agency fees — not to mention the opportunity costs of subpar creative in the marketplace. Both clients and agencies agree on the importance of better briefing to foster a more-productive client/agency relationship.

ANA will focus attention, going forward, on helping the advertising community improve the assignment briefing process. We’ll work with the 4A’s to strongly incorporate the agency perspective.

A related “pain point” identified in the survey is the client approval process. As we move forward on our work to improve assignment briefings, we’ll also incorporate learning along the way on optimizing the client approval process.