. The Transom .

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes when you aren't looking, the client is right

I had lunch the other day with a colleague who works for a competing agency here in town. Just a social thing. We got to talking about client service and different philosophies on how an agency should project itself in client-facing situations. She went on and on about how her agency rarely, if ever, supports a client-initiated idea. Their M.O. is to either change the idea, talk about all the difficulties with it, or reject it outright. Since this seemed a little, oh I don't know, asinine to me, I asked why. She said the clients pay them for good creative ideas and execution. If the client starts realizing that they are coming up with successful and good ideas, they will lose faith in, and support for, the agency.

Now, on the one hand, I could see where you don't want to just be an order taker and execution team. Any monkey with a drum can do that. But to reject most ideas just because they didn't come from you doesn't make any sense. How many potentially great ideas were squashed just because the agency didn't think of it first?

Our belief is that great ideas can come from anywhere, and if you're working as a team, shouldn't that be the most important factor? We're not going to sit around and wait for our clients to bring us great ideas, but we're sure as hell not going to reject a good one just because it wasn't ours. An agency's job is to help advance the client's business, not be the gatekeeper of good ideas.

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