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IPA Adaptathon blog: a blueprint for better client/agency relationships

A blueprint for better client/agency relationships
A blueprint for better client/agency relationships

The IPA has today (9th January 2014) published an industry blueprint to help agencies and clients achieve stronger and longer working relationships, which includes templates for a 100 day charter and a relationship contract.

It is underpinned by quantitative evidence that proves that better client agency relationships correlate with better work, producing a win-win situation for both parties.

It has been produced and developed out of ideas generated at the IPA’s recent Alliances Adaptathon where clients and agencies hacked the future of client-agency relationships. It forms part of IPA President Ian Priest’s wider ADAPT agenda to lead adland to better commercial creativity and will constitute the first chapter of his commercial creative contract.

The 100 Day Charter

The 100 Day Charter has been designed to help clients and agencies manage the transition to a new contractual working relationship, and sets parameters for an open and honest long-term partnership. It provides the opportunity to establish rules of engagement, such as how, when and how often to communicate, the use of technology and when face-to-face communication is required.

It also presents a useful overview of what each party should do by when, for example confirming the appointment of the transition team by Day 10, and confirming briefing, approval and sign-off process and responsibilities by Day 30. It has been developed against the principle that clients and agencies should start as they mean to go on.

Although the 100 Day Charter is not yet a joint industry agreement, it will be integrated into new joint client agency training on relationship management in the year ahead.

The Relationship Contract

The Relationship Contract provides a psychological framework for agencies and clients to conduct their relationship in terms of the social and psychological dynamics and the supporting procedures.

It is designed to provide a useful outline for discussion between clients and agencies to help them establish and embed relationships that are characterised by mutual respect and trust, openness and transparency, in order to optimise the benefits of working together and to maximise commercial creativity. The Relationship Contract focuses on concepts of organisational psychology including the psychology of ‘win-win’, positive strokes – a unit of human recognition, and personal working styles.

The Relationship Contract is designed to provide a useful outline for discussion between clients and agencies. Whether it becomes a signed agreement or not, adherence to the principles contained within it will help secure better client agency relationships for the longer term.

Says Ian Priest, IPA President: "It makes complete business sense to establish all aspects of a new relationship from the beginning and avoid it becoming too transactional too quickly. We want both sides to explore how to work together really well; I'm keen that as an industry we can move towards a culture of less pitches and longer partnerships.

It can take up to a year to fully integrate a new agency into the client way of working before the relationship begins to flourish so we hope that by following the 100 Day Charter and Relationship Contract from the outset, clients and agencies will be able to fast forward this process in order to produce the best possible work as quickly and amicably as possible, and with the least amount of waste."

The full chapter is available to read below or download here:

The next Adaptathon will take place on 4th – 5th February and will focus on Diversification. The two-part event in association with The Marketing Society and ISBA is designed to inspire marketing and agency management, insight, technology and creative teams to explore the way forward for branded content and innovation strategy. Tickets are available to purchase from the IPA website.

This first chapter was produced with the help of the IPA Client Council, IPA Council, ISBA, the IPA’s New Business Group, People Management Group and Client Service Group, intermediaries including AAR, Aprais, Oystercatchers and BlueDoor, and the speakers, facilitators and participants at the Alliances Adaptathon held on Thursday 3rd October 2013.

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