Good collaboration doesn’t always mean continuous agreement. It can be effective to challenge your agency—and, if I may say so, for an agency to challenge their client—throughout a project. Even a simple pause point to ask “Why?” can draw out information the other side needs.
Sassy bestselling author Janet Evanovich has her sleuths Stephanie Plum and Joe Morelli challenge one another in their cases almost every chapter. Police detective Morelli weighs his training and caution against Plum’s close-your-eyes-and-leap approach. Evanovich is careful never to let one way or the other always prevail, just as she has carefully kept her lead characters’ on-again-off-again romance aggravating readers for 27 books so far.
Posing a challenge or asking a tough “Why?” can take some bravery. In the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, some clients thought it would be simpler to stick with an evergreen content strategy and calendar. Instead, we continually pushed a more news-style approach with content that was aligned to recent events and immediately actionable. How? First, our strategy team looked at some of the early research into the mindsets of audiences affected by the pandemic and what those mindsets implied about the new or transforming needs of the audience. We shared those, as well as recommendations for creative concepts that applied the research, with our clients. With a renewed alignment, it was then simply a matter of creating and distributing the work. The reward for programs taking the risk was increased user engagement on social, email and website channels.