It’s the little things that build strong client/agency relationships.

At a recent conference with 100-plus marketing procurement and agency management professionals, trust and transparency were the big buzzwords. It’s no surprise, as they show up daily in industry news headlines, Google produces 237 million–plus search results for those two keywords, and quite frankly they are a big deal. But how do you deliver on and measure against the intangible value of trust?

Without getting too personal in a company blog post…I lost my dad a few years back, and over time it’s the small, inconsequential moments we had together that I remember most. It’s why I keep a magnet on my fridge with this quote: “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

I share this because trust is built on a multitude of “little” interactions over time that come into play when the big moments matter. It takes discipline, communication and most importantly consistency to build a strong, transparent and trusted agency/client partnership.

The following list is a collection of key actions you can incorporate into your own client/agency partnerships to deliver on a goal of being the agency partner most trusted by the brands you serve. Some actions are more consequential than others, but it’s the sum of these parts (or “little things”) that builds the foundation for a trusted relationship.   

HOST DISCOVERY MEETINGS

Take the time at the onset of a program or a new project to ensure the team is fully immersed in the brand and understands the organization’s goals and priorities. This is vital—once the team has a sense of how their work and results fit into the larger picture, they can adopt the client’s mindset to anticipate needs and deliver better creative solutions. 

ASK POWERFUL QUESTIONS

It’s about getting to the “why” that will build the strategy and path forward. Delivering on audience-first strategies is often easier said than executed, and the power of positive inquiry, insatiable curiosity and breaking free of assumptions can get you there faster. 

ALIGN ON THE BRIEF

This means going deeper than approvals from the project leads. Ensure that senior leadership is a part of the conversation and that the brief will ladder up to the organization’s larger goals and priorities. It’s easy to get focused on a singular project goal and not take into account how it impacts the larger picture. 

MEET REGULARLY (COMMUNICATE)

Create a cadence and structure for sharing status updates and receiving new information. The regularity of these informal meetings helps build chemistry between teams so true insight is shared. 

RESOURCE THE RIGHT TALENT

Go beyond skillsets and think about the personalities that shape team dynamics. Likeability plays a big role in giving your team the time needed to earn trust. 

THINK WIN-WIN

Work with, not for, your client. The key is shared responsibility and transparency. Challenges are always going to arise, but better solutions happen when there is willingness to work together. 

SHOW GRATITUDE

Gratitude is an incredibly powerful tool and creates an abundance mindset. Coming from a place of gratitude allows you to be present and see new opportunities, use feedback and constructive criticism to grow—and it feels good.  

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