Varying levels of experience and diverse categories shone as the panel of agency/client partnerships was showcased for the AMG event on Thursday evening. Steve McArdle, MD of BMF was on hand to moderate the conversation and the sense of camaraderie and respect among the teams was palpable.
Laura Aldington, CEO of Host Havas and her client Justine North from Air New Zealand led the conversation while Alex Niblett from Analogfolk and his client Emma King from HCF took the stage next. The Sportsbet team of Will Woods from BMF and Simon Kennedy followed and the GIO team of Isabella Best from Leo Burnett and Keith Tan completed the lineup.
They offered the sellout audience a glimpse into what is possible in a client/ agency relationship and how to attain it. The 90 minutes of discussion delivered these key takeaways as we saw it.
1. Have a shared ambition
– Both client and agency need to agree on what constitutes good work, and also share success.
– When it’s really working well, you can’t tell the difference between the client and agency teams – they are seamless. There is no “us and them” – just mutual respect.
– It is important for the client to take responsibility for inducting the agency really well (stated: Emma King from HCF)
– Part of this is sharing your vulnerabilities – bringing your real self to the game.
2. Total honesty is critical
– you have to have difficult conversations sometimes and must always be totally transparent, including on what budgets are available.
3. Authenticity is vital
– “As a client if you sniff something that’s not authentic it’s a problem”, Emma King commented.
4. Taking a leap of faith is also important.
– Simon Kennedy of Sportsbet said, “We once had a big roster of agencies “…but we put our trust in one and it paid off”.
– Isabella and Keith agreed that clear communication was important as was accepting joint responsibility when things go wrong.
5. Have curiosity and a passion for the business/client is crucial.
“It is an absolute requirement to care about it”. Said Laura Aldington. She went on the say that agencies can bring a wealth of knowledge because of cross-category learning.
6. It’s important that the clients appreciate the agencies areas of expertise and vice versa
Client Keith Tan for GIO said: ”I’m not a creative, it’s all a discovery for me.”
This was the final event for 2017, more events will be planned in 2018 visit the AMG Facebook page for updates.