The new game for client-agency-relationships

July 26, 2021
3 min read

It’s been a week since we published our book on “agency-client-relationships”. Thanks for all the positive comments, book orders and signs of interest. The book has been written in German language. But we’ll publish a series of articles in English language, too, summarizing our recommendations on how to build more sustainable and effective agency-client relationships. Today, I chose to share four key developments which affect the way we work together effectively as agencies and as clients.

  • Clients and their agency counterparts are navigating a fluid environment. Customer needs and expectations are changing at an increasing pace. The traditional top-down influencing model has been turned on its head. And every player and stakeholder can disrupt a company`s communication and reputation any time on any channel. This change asks for utmost flexibility, speed and 24/7 attention. How do we setup ourselves for success?
  • The lifecycle of client-agency-relationships has shortened. Decade-long relationships have become the exception. Project contracts are the new normal. Resource planning on both sides is challenging resulting in extra commercial pressure. Agencies try to expand their remits, Hence, the traditional swim lanes between different agencies dissolve. This new opportunity comes with the challenge to select the right agency-set-up. How do clients make the right choices?
  • Digitalization has given rise to a new range of agency specialist roles, transforming the way teams work with each other, with a higher degree of labor division and many new interfaces. Teams are grappling with the challenges of this development while embarking on a continuous learning journey and re-defining their careers. How will we assign the best talent mix for every given assignment?
  • Talent is on the move. It has become harder to retain them, when predictability of client projects is low and agency (and client) systems are too rigid to provide freedom and space to develop. How will the future of work look like?

How can clients and agencies collaborate more effectively – within this fluid environment, with one goal in mind? Our experience as client and agency leaders tells us, that together, we need to be better teams, who are aware of and respect one another`s perspective. We cannot afford to rush into a new relationship, gazing at the new partner through rose-tinted glasses, without a thorough knowledge of the relationship success factors at every single defining moment. This conviction drove us to write this book. We are going to share some key learnings during the next weeks to come. And we hope to hear from you and discuss ways forward to a more effective collaboration.

What is the biggest change and challenge you are observing about client-agency-relationships today?

Cornelia Kunze, 2021, July