Phyllis Schaeffler Dealy has an excellent blog post on iMedia today. In it, she discusses the seven words you should never say to a client. It’s worth a read whether you are a client, the agency or a service provider.
One of the points that Phyllis touches on (and they are all solid, relevant points) is that you should be fearless, but not reckless. This is an important consideration for many organizations because the larger they are, the more risk adverse they can be. In this new world of communication, it is taking time for many on the senior team to realize that by not engaging and taking some calculated risk in that outreach, they are actually taking a much bigger risk. The conversations are happening and either your organization is a part of them and is participating, contributing and connecting or you are disengaged and giving others the opportunity to communicate for your brand.
Another point that Phyllis makes is about going viral. You can’t make a video or campaign go viral. You can create quality and share it wherever possible. The campaigns that go viral happen organically, you can’t force it. However, you can put the odds in your favour by creating a good campaign or video that will mean something to your community. Notice I didn’t say, “that means something to you.” As much as you want to engage people in your brand, it’s all about them, about what they want, what they are interested in, what they think and how they respond – it’s not about you.
Phyllis also talks about the danger of saying yes too much. That’s a crucial point and one that, as a boutique agency, AHA takes very seriously. When we started AHA seven years ago (our company anniversary is tomorrow – April 1!!) we made a corporate decision that we were not going to be “yes” people. That decision has had a huge impact on us as an organization. It is a part of our culture, a part of the value we bring to clients, and a part of the criteria that comes with taking on clients. Even at the very start, if we find ourselves working with a client that just wants us to take orders and agree with them all the time, we resign the account. It isn’t how we wanted to work then and it’s not how we work now.
Our clients know that we will come to them with what we believe is the best approach for their organization. They know that we will respectfully discuss and debate approaches with ourselves and with them, if necessary. They know that our focus is always on delivering the best results. They work with us because of our experience, expertise and our attitude. And we aren’t afraid to be honest with them when we think things are going down the wrong path. It’s a very personal, very connected relationship that is developed and based on trust.