Twenty-one years ago almost to the day, Martin Puris of Ammirati & Puris (the best agency of its day) wrote an article for Adweek on what makes a great client. I have been carting it around for the last couple decades and regularly refer to it simply because it is so simple and makes such sense.
Maybe in our impecunious era, our trust-less era, our 'fuck 'em before they fuck you' era, this is all quaint and naive. But I'm quaint and naive enough to still hold these truths to be self-evident.
If you'd like me to send you a pdf of the complete article, drop me a note and I will. But only if you promise to try to improve your client-hood or your agency by considering the principles re-published here.
Ten Principles for Building a Better Relationship With Your Agency
*Inculcate a spirit of partnership.
*Be wary of change for change’s sake.
*Make sure your agency is making a fair profit on your account.
*Make the agency totally absorbed in the company’s product, the people and the corporate culture.
*Create an environment of experimentation and be prepared to pay for failure.
*Treat the agency people well.
*Agree to a clearly defined objective for advertising.
*Keep approvals simple, and disapprovals kind.
*Make the agency responsible for the advertising, and give it the authority it needs to be responsible.
*Give the agency a formal evaluation every year.
(Maybe I am posting this today because of yesterday--the spirit of responsibility, candor, and back-to-basics. Maybe if we work hard we can do work that works that we are also proud of.)