22 January 2018: As Simon Sinek famously said “customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”. In the world of brand marketing, gone are the days of transactional relationships with our customers (that is, our clients). Today, long standing, successful partnerships are built on so much more – it’s all about love.
Clients expect a genuine marriage of the minds with their agency partners. They want to be confident that your values, passion and curiosity consistently match their own. They also want to work with people who clearly love what they do and will inject this enthusiasm into brands they represent each and every day.
Client love isn’t a short term fling. The best agency partners are the ones that work hard every day to foster collaboration with the brand at every stage of its journey. And, as the lines of agency blur with clients being offered more multi-service options to choose from than ever before, agencies who master this depth of relationship will always have a competitive advantage.
Lovers or Haters – Culture is where it starts
It’s no surprise that people who love what they do, love showing up for work and have a genuine passion for the brands they represent will be able to talk about the products, services or sector with ease. Not just to media and key stakeholders but in their own social circles. If you represent a streaming service, you’d better be a content junkie. If you represent a haircare brand, you’ve hopefully used it. It’s that passion that clients value the most – live it and love it, it goes a long way in showing you ‘get it’. On the flip side, there is also benefit in looking beyond brand lovers in the team. Haters can also add value and give valuable insights into the challenges or hurdles facing a certain product or service.
Embedding the dream team
Someone with strong expertise, a background in the industry, an obsession or personal connection to the sector, is always going to bring more to the table than someone who just happens to be available. You also need to quickly get under the skin of their business and do it fast. By working in their office, you will build relationships and learn to work like they do. From secondments to hot-desking, find new ways to embed your people in their business as this creates unique dependencies and opportunity. You want to become the first call? Constant visibility helps.
Networking is the new norm
Clients want connections – whether it is to new knowledge, new insights, new thinking or other interesting people. How can you connect them to like-minded brands or speakers, influencers and events? Foster the relationship by taking it in new directions through access and eye-opening experiences. This will cement your commitment and give them valuable insights and insider knowledge to share within their networks.
Going beyond the brief
Every day businesses are challenged by competition, issues or new opportunities and innovation. Sometimes a brief can be born spontaneously. So why not get them to challenge you to help solve a business problem once a quarter or proactively share ideas before you’re asked. Or even augment a solution for an audience you know they are trying to reach. Cultural truths and insights can inform new creative opportunities so why not share it. That added value is what sets partners apart.
So what does love have to do with it? Well a lot actually. Love the brand, love what you do and bring love to the partnership in unique ways. This all starts with building love into the culture of your team. And that culture is where client service starts and ends.
By Jacqui Abbot, Managing Director, Pulse Communications