4 Lessons from 15 Years of Brand Stories


We have dedicated the past 15 years to helping our clients tell brand stories that win the hearts and minds of customers.


Over the years, we’ve learnt a thing or two about collaborating from our clients and the ingredients required to create successful, long-term relationships.


We wanted to share our learnings to give something back to the business community, as we know that deciding to work with an agency can be a very daunting process - especially when you’re used to doing everything in-house!


In this article, we have distilled our learnings into 4 key pearls of wisdom that will help you navigate the world of building a successful partnership with confidence and enthusiasm. With that being said, what works for one partnership may not work for another, so this list is by no means exhaustive or set in stone. Instead, think of it as a starting point, with some helpful principles to follow!


1. A Shared Vision


When a client first approaches an agency, they often know which targets they need to achieve, but don’t know the best way to do it.


An experienced agency will guide you through the process of unravelling the many different threads that make up your business and help you map out a clear journey for achieving your goals.


This is often achieved through a series of ‘onboarding’ sessions, where an agency will ask a series of thought-provoking questions so that together, you can create a shared vision of what success looks like.


Reaching a shared vision is profoundly important because if agencies and clients aren’t on the same page from day one, it can lead to issues cropping up at a later stage of the relationship.


2. Pure Chemistry


Agencies are made up of people who are specialists in their respective fields, as are businesses. Often when it comes down to a client comparing agencies who have a similar track record, chemistry is what makes one agency stand out from the rest.


Not unlike a first-date, chemistry sessions allow you to spot any red flags early on and get a feel for whether or not your relationship is likely to be a good fit for both parties.

So what should you look for in terms of chemistry?

  • Similar values - do you share a similar outlook?

  • A cultural fit - do your organisations share a similar working style?

  • Synergistic personalities - do your teams’ personalities complement each other?


We believe that the best partnerships arise when an agency becomes an extension of your team and if these elements of chemistry are present, it can make for a much more seamless relationship.


3. Clear Expectations


Once you have created a shared vision and established chemistry, it’s important to set clear expectations for both parties.


A successful client-agency relationship is built on the premise of an equal partnership with give and take required on both sides.


Clear expectations should be set around areas such as:

  • Timelines

  • Resource allocations

  • Deliverables

  • Brand guidelines

  • Budget

  • Response times

  • Scope of work


We have found that creating and then sticking to these expectations will allow agencies and clients to maintain an efficient and happy long-term partnership where both sides feel equally valued.


4. Great Communication


Last but not least, we firmly believe that great communication is the true secret to success in building and maintaining client-agency relationships. (And not just because we’re a communications agency!)


The agency should take on the role of listening to the client’s needs and, as experts in their field, advise them on the best course of action. This requires a truly collaborative approach and therefore, the client should be willing to be open to fresh ideas, new perspectives and often, some healthy debate. Beware the ‘yes man’ agency!


Furthermore, once expectations have been set and work begins, transparent communication is what keeps a relationship flowing and growing. Regular contact via calls and email with project managers on both sides is one way to ensure this happens.


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Are you looking to find the best matching design and communications agency to partner with and take your brand to the next level?


Get in touch with our Managing Partner, Philip Martin, at philip.martin@dma-partners.com to discover if we’ve got chemistry!

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