Agencies find it difficult to trust

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Echoes of our own experience rang strongly when reading Tom O’Sullivan’s article “Positive Linking” (MW March 3), and we could not agree more that “agency egos and fears of losing control are hampering full-scale adoption” of integrated marketing.

As a marketing communications agency, specialising in the design and production of high-impact, large- format graphics, exhibitions and displays, we find time and time again that we have an enormous barrier to surmount when dealing with advertising agencies.

The basic problem is a lack of trust on the part of advertising agencies, and a fear that our work will somehow undermine their creative control. It would be far simpler – and, more importantly of greater benefit to the client – if advertising agencies could have the professionalism and integrity simply to seek the right supplier to do the job. In this way, maybe they could have the confidence both in their work and ours to know that we are not going to reflect badly on them in clients’ eyes.

An even worse scenario is when the client appoints us direct. In these cases, where all we are trying to do is ensure that there is a consistent corporate image and marketing message, advertising agencies seem to become very nervous about anyone else entering the creative field.

This is so even on occasions when we may simply be taking advertising-agency-generated creative graphic work and simply advising on the format for displays or exhibitions.

Of course, these are generalisations, and some advertising agencies have confidence enough in their client relationship and their work to co-operate to the full. But, until the majority of advertising agency personnel can swallow their egos, clients will continue to see agencies “as obstacles to, rather than conductors of change”. The losers will not only be the agencies but, in the long-run, the clients themselves who will fail to achieve fully integrated campaigns.

Steve Hill

Marketing manager

Academy Displays and Graphics

Surrey

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