Striking the Ideal Balance Between Client & Agency

Have you ever had to have a difficult conversation with your agency? Or needed to let a client know they were running significantly over budget? Maybe you’ve wondered why your client is emailing you at all hours of the night and weekend? Or worse, you need to tell your agency that it’s not you, it’s them?

Last week, at the National Summit on Strategic Communications, I had the pleasure of sitting down with fellow speaker, friend and client, Amy Atwood, Head of Vaccine Communications at Takeda, to answer some of these tough questions. During this conversation, Amy and I also talked about other ingredients (like “thank you’s”) that go into a successful client and agency relationship.

The idea for this topic came up several months earlier when Amy suggested it as an abstract for an upcoming conference. While we still plan to host this talk later this year, we wanted to share some of these pearls of wisdom with our fellow agency and brand-side colleagues with the hope of shedding some light on this sometimes-complicated relationship.

While we highly encourage you to listen to the interview as we explore the nuances of these best practices, we know that there are some of you that would prefer to cut to the chase. For your benefit, here are the 6 suggestions that Amy shares during our conversation:

  • Treat your agency partners like they are a part of your team
  • Set clear ground rules
  • When it comes to budget conversations, have them early and make it a strategic discussion
  • Listen and brainstorm with your agency, utilize their expertise
  • Immediately address concerns when they arise
  • Always say thank you, remember that everyone is a person

For those that do take the time to listen in, don’t miss the one thing people don’t know about Amy, her book recommendations and of course, what he album choice would be were she to be stranded on a deserted island!


Aaron Strout
Aaron Strout

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