In the agency world, we often find ourselves working with other agencies on major client accounts, each handling a piece of the work. It is more and more common that we’ll see a brand agency, creative agency, advertising agency, and a digital agency all in the same room discussing a project. In some cases, there’s a master agency coordinating the other agencies. In other cases, the client is the central point of contact without an agency taking the lead.
And while this shift toward a more collaborative approach is increasingly what is required today, that doesn’t make it easy. Let’s face it, partnerships can be tricky. Although all agencies want to finish the project successfully, there are many things that can go wrong. Sometimes, the client can’t elaborate their business goals. One or several agencies may underperform. Some agencies may create works that conflict with other agencies. Or the lead agency may not be able to coordinate effectively with the other agencies regarding expertise that is not their strength.
When the project goes south, the pains begin. Because each agency only knows a part of the picture, most of them cannot fix the problem. The client is never wrong, so someone else should take the ball. Since no one wants to take responsibility for mistakes, people may start pointing fingers.
So how can we avoid this kind of outcome? How can we, as an agency in a big group, help drive the whole project to success? And how can we shield ourselves from the blame game? Here are a few helpful ways:
That may take some extra time, but the reward is many times greater. When something happens, you may be the only partner that has enough information to solve the problem for the entire group, which will enhance your reputation and your client relationship.
It takes courage to take in more responsibility, but it brings you tremendous influence and solid positioning in the client’s mind. You’ll have more power and information to foster communication and drive the project in the right direction.
You can take the lead no matter what role your agency has in the project, as long as you show respect and the willingness to pursue the common goal. By stepping forward, you make everybody's work easier, and people will appreciate that.