Creative Leadership – Client and Agency Relationships

Keith Reinhard, the advertising legend emphasised again at Spikes how agencies not only need to read their client’s mind, but actually read beyond their mind – don’t give them what they ask for, but give them what they need, or probably what they never thought they would need. Also agencies should somehow carry an entrepreneurial spirit to work with clients -give directions when clients are not sure, and bring them onboard, and work together to come up with and ship amazing ideas.

Also, timesheets and head hours are the nightmares for both agencies and clients. They are the two key things that kill initiatives and creativity. Not starting the work until you know client would pay for your time, or not spending extra hours on a project because you know you won’t get paid for it, or clients keep thinking that agencies literally bullshit about their timesheets (whilst sometimes they really do) and become petty about the freedom (including financial freedom) they give to agencies, all these are roadblocks for us (clients and agencies) to build trust, to work together and to bring the best out of the collaboration.

Probably great work can only be produced when agencies humble themselves a little and not care so much about money, and clients bring up their game and play a creative leadership role so agency people won’t look down upon you and think that you are idiots, but rather be inspired by you, led by you and therefore willing to deliver the best they can for your account.

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