agency-questionsThe old proverb of “be careful what you wish for” keeps going through my mind.

Agencies often wish for their clients to bring them into the fold and share everything. They want to be partners in success. They want to play a significant role in the growth of the companies they support.

As the client, I often wonder why an agency doesn’t “get it.” Why do I have to be looking at round after round of creative to get to where I need to be? Why aren’t they reading my mind after all this time?

But what happens when these partnerships have grown over the years to a level of mind reading confidence? One would think that is exactly what we wish for — but be careful. Mind reading can also equate to assumptions, and assumptions can put you right back at square one…or even worse.

When an agency gets to the point where it knows what a brand needs to be without the input of the client, the brand can no longer achieve growth through the client. The brand is now the agency’s brand, and that’s not what it was hired for. It can have the ability to morph into a creative show and lose a brand voice, and that’s not what either the client or the agency wants. Yes, we all want the kind of creative that makes people sit up and pay attention. We want the creative that makes the industry publications applaud. And we both want the type of creative that is shareable.

That comes with continual shared work and insight. As a client, I must continually expand the agency’s knowledge of my brand and customers. The agency must continually ask questions, not make assumptions.

Together we can create and sustain brands that make everyone say “wow” because they produce results for all stakeholders.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? How did you work through it?

Originally published Sep 18, 2012 12:59:36 AM, updated December 02 2014