Call me an old romantic but I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day.
Relationships for me should be continual, honest, surprising and enjoyable. You shouldn’t need a special date to tell someone how you feel.
I feel the same way when it comes to client relationships. Creative presentations don’t always have to be a massive gesture to be surprising and enjoyable. One of the most often used phrases agencies regurgitate is ‘we don’t have clients, we have partners’. How much of that is just pillow talk?
When my partner had our child, I may not have physically given birth to our daughter but my input right from the start was pretty crucial. As was my support throughout the 9 months up to her birth. Ok, it wasn’t always fun, we didn’t always agree, but it helped both of us prepare and create a bond with our new baby.
Creating ideas is the same.
I don’t believe anyone owns an idea. I do believe that the creativity of the agency is the responsibility of everyone, including the client. Everyone should be ready to do ‘Whatever it takes’ to do the best work.
With the pressure of tighter budgets and more stakeholders in the process, it seems ludicrous to believe that a ‘ta-dah’ moment can result in anything other than trepidation and surprise.
Hardly any ideas created in isolation make it past the agency door. The pitch process is proof of this insanity. So why expect the client to just buy an idea and then sell it to their stakeholders with the understanding, passion and zeal of an agency team who may have worked on the project, uninterrupted, for weeks?
To truly connect with the hearts and minds of our clients we have to become true partners. Get them in early, write the brief together, collaborate with the creatives, show them scamps and discuss the possibilities. Allow them to enjoy and be part of the creative process. And help them sell the idea and its potential to their bosses.
You can’t convince people to fall in love with you with a grandiose gesture. So why not woo them with the romance of the creative process and perhaps you’ll make a perfect baby together.