Are You Being Served?

Are You Being Served?

Four Top Tips on Getting The Best Out of Your Agencies

Knowing mostly everything about events also means knowing when it’s time in to call in the talent. Whether it’s a production company to make your sizzles and showreels, or a stand-designer, a menu designer, or a merchandise finder (all of which Events & The City can do by the way!) how should you be working with your agencies to get the best possible service and output? Here are four top tips for some beautiful future agency/client relationships:
1. Treat them like partners and expect the same
There is an old term for clients behaving badly: Mid-Week Millionaires. These are the people who, because of their job title or the company they work for, believe they are empowered to treat their suppliers appallingly, giving them unrealistic deadlines, getting sent work on a Monday morning and waiting until Friday at 4pm to ‘jump on a call and get it back for Monday.’ Demanding work for free? Shouting when they don’t get their way? Let there be no doubt: this is bad behaviour. If your child acted like this in the play-ground you’d be ashamed, so don’t do it yourself. They might be smiling to your face, but they hate you, and who wouldn’t? You’re being a dick! Just don’t be rude man. Treat them like a partner and you’ll get the same in return. We all have our jobs to do, so let’s make life a little nicer and earn some good karma. You’ll earn their loyalty and they’ll bring you their best ideas, I promise.  
2. Go Into the light… or… you shouldn’t be in the dark
So, you are treating your agency like a trusted partner, but they aren’t returning your calls. You don’t know when your edit/design/mock-up is coming. That’s not good enough. Clear communication is the easiest thing in the world, so you should absolutely expect to be kept in the loop. So, if you don’t know when you are going to see the thing you briefed in last week, ask them. And tell them to tell you before you have to ask next time. That’s totally fair, and any decent Account Manager will be doing it already. (The Events & The City Account Management team are shining lights in Account Management – give them a try if you haven’t already!)

3. Take care of the pennies
Start with a quote and keep a tight hold on your budget. The most likely thing to kill a good relationship is a bad conversation about money. You shouldn’t be surprised by the bill, because you’ll have been asking for updated costs as you go, or you’ll have agreed a flat amount. If they need to up the budget they SHOULD TELL YOU, even if you call up on a Friday night and need something by Monday morning, the least they should say is: are you happy to incur the extra fees that come with additional weekend work, or similar? You have to know the cost is coming, and ideally give them time to send it to you. Think of them like a credit card: you have to be able to afford the bill that’s coming at the end of you spending spree.

4. Be clear
‘It’s not right, but I’ll know it when I see it’. You KNOW that’s not an okay thing to say. If you want a great relationship with your agency you can say one of two things: either I know roughly what I want or show me what you think I need. But at that point you need to be specific. Go through the work you see properly. Take the time to articulate what’s right and what’s wrong, and test it: if somebody gave you your own feedback, would you know what to do with it? The more respectfully your treat their time and their work, the better relationship you’ll have in the long run.


by Louise Kean-Wood