How to be a Great Client—Part 4: More Thoughts on Choosing an Agency

A client/agency relationship can be a beautiful thing. A marriage of sorts. Certainly a collusion or collaboration. And sometimes a match made in hell.

What else goes into choosing agency? There’s no simple formula. But there are some principles that are worth considering, in the form of questions worth asking.

1.     What are my business and communications objectives?

You’d be surprised how seldom clients factor this into the decision for an agency. You must choose an agency that can indicate they have the chops to meet your goals and objectives. If you want to become the most famous brand in your category, then choose an agency that’s renowned for making relatively unknown brands into household names. If you want to drive consumers to the supermarket aisle to purchase your product, choose an agency that’s strong in activations and promotions.

2.     What are my brand values and attributes?

Just as people choose brands that express who they are and how they want to be perceived, so too should clients choose agencies that fit the DNA of their brand. A premium, “luxe” brand deserves a premium luxe agency. A responsible and rigorous brand requires an agency that’s responsible and rigorous. A brand that is inherently (or potentially) disruptive and unique—should have an agency with exactly those qualities.

3.     What kind of relationship do I want with my agency?

Do you want an agency who’ll challenge you and be your sparring partner? Do you want an agency that you can hang out with? Do you want an agency that gives you a break from the monotony of work and transports you to new places? Or do you want an agency that will follow your orders and do your bidding? It’s important to be honest with ourselves about what we really want, and then communicate that clearly to any prospective agency.

There are many more criteria, of course, and each situation is different. But the above questions are a good start—to what may become a beautiful friendship.