What are the basic principles for a good agency relationship?

Marketers from Just Eat, SCA Hygiene Products and TUI Group share their advice for achieving the most effective and fruitful agency relationships.

Agency relationships

Barnaby Dawe, global CMO, Just Eat

Barnaby Dawe

Trust, transparency and mutual respect. Make sure your briefing process and the briefs themselves are clear and to-the-point. Give your agency as much access to your business as you can and treat them like an extension of the team. Encourage them to come up with ideas that sit outside their remit. Agencies should be your eyes and ears on the outside world. Marketing departments can become very introspective and a good agency will remind you that consumers aren’t constantly thinking about you and help you explore new ways to grab their attention.

Nicola Coronado, marketing director, SCA Hygiene Products

Nicola Coronado

As a starting point, a client must know their own business, understand what makes their brand proposition unique and meaningful and be able to convey that to the agency. An agency must be curious about the brand and how it can move forward/change the existing dynamics. Chemistry sessions are important as these identify where discussion will be challenging and constructive. The team don’t need to be from the same mould – different perspectives and experiences are vital but a similar appetite for transparency and debate is necessary, otherwise one party will become unfulfilled or frustrated and the collaboration will not deliver.

Jeremy Gidley, director of CRM at TUI Group


[We focus on three things.] Shared goals: that way we have a common perspective of what success looks like and where we need to focus our time. Shared insights: insight driven actions are always more powerful, so it is essential we make insights and research an integral part of the brief. Focus: play to their strengths by keeping them focused on their core competencies and avoid the relationship creeping into areas where they are less skilled as that could ultimately sour the relationship.

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  • June Dennis 1 Mar 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Having been an Expert Witness in Agency/Client relationships it’s very clear that many agencies oversell what the possible benefits are of a particular campaign or event. I completely agree with Barnaby Dawe’s comments about clear briefs (and proposals) and trust and transparency as being critical in ensuring a good working relationship. From my experience, the lack of these attributes are the main reasons why occasionally businesses end up taking legal action against their agency.

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