This article was published by Little Black Book Online on November 5, 2015
It’s the depth of a client-agency relationship that is the single most important factor in delivering creativity that drives commercial success. Yet, clients are increasingly resorting to shallow, transactionary, project-based relationships with creative agencies.
Marketers are increasingly taking their lead from the most successful global tech brands and the way in which they work with agencies.
Take Google. The tech behemoth has become a byword for best practice and progressive marketing. Globally, Google’s largely project-based model for working with agencies has been replicated by many marketers, but some have failed to understand the difference between Google’s interaction with consumers and the reality of their own organisation’s relationship with its customers.
Google interacts directly with its consumers, learning more about each of them on a daily basis than a packaged-goods company might hope to learn about an individual customer in a lifetime. Not only does Google have a deep, data-driven understanding of consumers, but as a creative tech business it also has an innate understanding of how creativity engages, influences and motivates those consumers. By its nature, Google’s culture and organisational structure is geared to developing and executing creative ideas at speed.
By contrast, the majority of brand owners don’t have this intimate consumer knowledge. They don’t rely on an innate feel for creativity that will engage consumers and drive commercial success when developing and buying creative work.
The reality is that they’re likely to have a lengthy approval process involving multiple stakeholders that’s totally at odds with the development and delivery of content that’s capable of transforming the fortunes of their brand or business.
For those brand owners who don’t have Google’s constant interaction with their consumers, and whose current processes for approving creative work rely on testing and approval by multiple stakeholders, the transition to buying effective content-driven marketing communications is going to be a challenging one. The last thing these clients need is multiple project-based relationships with creative agencies.
What they do need are agency partners with a deep understanding of their business and the trust that this engenders.
Transactional, project-based relationships aren’t going to foster deep understanding of their business or engender the trust that will enable these clients to transform the way in which they develop and buy marketing communications, and transition into the new world of content-driven marketing.
Within the marketing function of some client organisations, the advent of creative excellence roles is a positive development – in as much that it elevates the creative agenda. What we need is a wholesale shake-up of how most clients buy creativity to truly and effectively leverage the power of branded content.