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The Influencers
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The Case for Sweaty-palmed Partnerships

180 Amsterdam, 6 months, 3 weeks ago

INFLUENCER: 180 Amsterdam's Head of Brand Management, Megan Wooding, says clients need to trust their agencies just a little bit more

The Case for Sweaty-palmed Partnerships

Brave clients. Brave work. What the hell does it all mean? Brave is a word thrown about by many in the industry, its true meaning muddied by creative call-to-arms on stages and in pages of industry bibles. What’s brave about what we all do? Why are we so in awe of the brave? Because we know what it really means. Brave enough to trust.

The craziest thing I see clients do consistently, is to not be brave enough to trust their agency. It happens in all shops. I get it. Agencies can be damn crazy places, and the people inside are definitely cut from a different cloth. From another planet. But not being brave enough to be honest and transparent with your agency defeats the purpose of a partnership. It’s like buying a Ferrari and being too scared to let it out of first gear. Or worse, keeping it in the garage.

I have worked with many clients you would call brave. And you know, they weren’t always the ass-kicking, take no prisoner kinds of people. Some were, but being a dynamite baller isn’t a pre-requisite. Trusting your agency is. These ‘brave’ clients held sweaty hands with us and took a leap of faith. Because when we agency folk find a client who honestly tells us their (sometimes personal) vision, their dream, their pain points, and their plan – well, this bunch of horsepower knows exactly what to do. We are all in this to creatively solve your business problems.

For you, brave client, the real value you’ll get from your agency team can’t be bought with any amount of money.  Because when a brave client trusts their agency we just work better, faster, harder and smarter for you. We’re in the trenches, we’ve got your back, front and sides. And in this game, because creativity is chaos, sometimes things won’t work out as planned. But because we trust each other, we’ll fail fast and get back on track faster. That’s a bravehearted approach.

And when we know you trust us, we come to you with more. Wilder ideas, bigger dreams, extra energy. We push more, we make more, show more, share more, we deliver more. WE CAN’T HELP IT. But when you don’t trust us, we become just another supplier. And no-one wants that.

But - a word of caution to us all in agency land shouting 'JUST TRUST US!'. Trust has to be earned. It isn't given. It doesn't get put onto a scope of work document. It isn't put into a cost estimate. It comes from demonstrable rigour of thinking, the commitment from the team to solve the problems we're given and from having both the vision and empathy to get under the skin of both the client's business and their audience. We in the agency world need to do our bit. So that the client can do theirs.

So if you’re teetering on the brink of bravery, step forward, Client. Let’s press our sweaty, nervous palms together and leap into unknown realms of communications greatness. The rewards for such bravery will far exceed any budget you may give us.



Megan Wooding is Head of Brand Management at 180 Amsterdam