How To Work On An Actual Campaign And Work With Client?

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Summary: Before getting down on work you should get yourself familiar with the working of the agency. You should be aware of the stages involved in work. At the same time working with client is very important. A good relationship with client is always advised. As they know their product and market well than you.

If the client decides to award the agency the account, the actual work on the campaign can begin. The work itself can be divided into three distinct stages development of concept, production of concept, and implementation of the campaign. Each of these stages is presented below, along with the progressive steps that must be taken to complete each stage. It is important that you become completely familiar with these stages because they are the foundation of the work you will do in an agency.

Stage 1: Development of concept


  1. Positioning, research, and strategy

  2. Creative concepts

  3. Preliminary design sketches and copy

  4. Media plans and budget

  5. Client approval of all preliminary work
Stage 2: Production of concept
  1. Client's requested revisions incorporated into the concept

  2. Finalized designs, copy, scripts, and storyboards produced

  3. Photographs taken, if necessary

  4. Client approval of finished designs, copy, storyboards, and scripts

  5. Mechanicals of all ads and printed materials produced

  6. Client approval of mechanicals for printed materials

  7. Mechanicals delivered to printer

  8. Radio and TV commercials produced
Stage 3: Implementation of campaign
  1. Completed commercials distributed to appropriate stations, and completed print ads sent out to newspapers and magazines

  2. Printed collateral pieces delivered from printer and mailed or distributed

  3. Commercials begin airing, and print ads start their publication runs
That completes the entire development and implementation of an advertising campaign. At this point, the client can be billed for all media scheduled to run and all other related campaign expenses and agency fees.

Working with clients

Clients are the most important part of an advertising agency. They are the business. Without clients an agency cannot stay in business. Agency employees, particularly those in the creative departments such as copy and design, and new employees often lose sight of the client's position within the structure of the agency. Creative people can sometimes get so caught up in the "art" of their work that they focus more on that than on pleasing the client. And the new employee is usually just totally unaware of the importance of the client to the agency.

Agency owners do care about the quality of the work produced by their agency, but if the work itself does not meet the goals promised the client, like increasing visibility or sales, the client may look for another agency. And that can make agency owners nervous. Agency owners also get nervous at the thought of losing a client because someone at the agency made a mistake or said something that angered the client. Even though it is an accepted fact that clients come and go and an agency cannot keep a client indefinitely, even when it is doing a great job, agency owners still put all of their energy into pleasing their clients and making sure their employees do, too. But clients tend to get restless regardless of the effort an agency makes on their behalf. They always tend to wonder if maybe another agency could do a better job. Plus, clients are constantly courted by other agencies who want their business. And they are being offered irresistible prices and guarantees if they will leave their present agency and switch. But when a client fires an agency because the agency made an unforgivable error, that is not only a slap in the face to an agency, but it is also a nasty blow to the agency's reputation.

If you can possibly avoid it, you do not ever want to be the one person at the agency who caused irreparable damage with a client through ignorance or a careless oversight. To prevent that from happening, you need to be armed with all the information you can get about how to work well with clients. That means understanding what clients need, want, and expect in a relationship with their agency and its employees. Also, you must have a thorough understanding of your agency's procedures for handling projects. This will help you catch problems before they begin.

Building good client relationships

It takes two things to build a good relationship with clients:
  • Always try to see things from the client's perspective.

  • Be responsive and attentive to the client's needs.
Incidentally, this is also the key to building a good relationship with your employer.

Clients pay an agency a lot of money for only one reason to increase their business. The agency does this by developing a plan that will get whatever it is that the client's company sells noticed by the people who will buy it. It is that simple. And if your agency does not accomplish that goal, your agency is not meeting your client's needs.

Beyond that, a good relationship with a client is built on respect for the client's opinions and expertise in the work the client's company produces. I know of some agencies who totally disrespect their clients and do not bother to hide it. They deal with their clients from a position of superiority. The management and even employees at these agencies act as though they are the only authorities who know how to market and advertise a product. They are condescending in their attitude toward their clients and bully them into going along with their agency's creative ideas, even when the client protests that it will not work.

I know about these agencies, because a number of their clients came to my agency when they were finally fed up with the treatment they had been receiving. In addition, most of these runaway clients told me that not only were the people at their former agencies ill mannered, but for all their boasting about how creative and knowledgeable they were, their work had failed to deliver results.

Most clients do know their business, or they would not be in it. They know who their market is and what motivates these people to buy their product. And they know the strengths and weaknesses of their product. It is up to you to listen to what your clients tell you, believe them, and learn everything you can from them about their company, their product, and their market.

Occasionally you will run into clients who really do not know anything, or clients who know a lot but do not know how to apply that to a workable advertising program. When you happen across one of these types, you will need to do some extra homework and find out what you need to know to help them position and advertise their product. But the most important thing to remember is never tell clients that they know nothing. If you need to convince a client that a particular idea your agency has developed is better than the client's idea, do it with tact and respect. Something that works well with clients is to do what they want but also show them an example of what the agency wants to do. Then let them do their own side by side comparison. It is the rare client who will see their bad idea alongside the agency's great concept and not be able to tell which one is more effective.

If all attempts fail, and your client still insists on having the agency produce the client's idea, that is when you have to step aside and let your agency owners decide what to do. You can tell the client that you will inform your supervisor or the agency president or whoever would be involved in the account what the client has decided. If the agency is willing to risk losing the client before it will do poor quality work, it is their decision to make. You do not ever want to say to a client that your agency will not get involved in producing second rate advertising on the assumption that they will applaud you for upholding their integrity but losing a client. At all costs, keep yourself out of compromising situations. Speak only for your agency when you are authorized to do so. Always defer final judgment on any issue, including cost, to agency higher ups.

Speaking of cost, another responsibility that an agency has to a client is to deliver the work promised at the cost the agency and client have agreed to. If you are in a position in which the work you do in any way effects the cost a client will have to pay for a project, make sure you know to the penny what the agency has quoted the client, and then make sure that whatever you do does not increase that cost.

I once had an art director who was given the responsibility of putting together price quotes for client projects. This fellow was a very talented designer with exquisite taste. As a result, it was his desire that every design that he produced or that he supervised being produced be done with only the best quality materials. That meant that when he went out to bid for a print job, he would get price quotes based on the most expensive paper, PMS ink colors when a house ink would have done the job just as well, etc.

It is not that I prefer cutting corners; I do not. I, too, want to produce the highest quality work that the client's budget will allow. But the important consideration here is what the client can afford. If a client only has a $5,000 budget for design and printing of his brochures, and the agency has agreed to work within that budget, then you cannot turn around and surprise the client with a bill that is $1,500 more because you thought a certain kind of paper was more fashionable.

The worse part about what this art director did was that he concealed the real cost for quite a few print jobs for a period of several months. He did it by adjusting his price quote from a printer if it was beyond the limits of the client's budget, and making it conform to what the client had to spend. Then a month or so after the client's project was finished, the bill from the printer would come in. When it did, he would intercept it and bury it in with other bills so that my bookkeeper would not catch the discrepancy between the invoice price and the amount billed to the client. This went on until one day my accountant noticed the imbalance between money paid out to printers and money billed to clients for printing. When we began to investigate, we discovered that the cover up was not just limited to printing quotes; it also included reprographic services and typesetting fees.

My art director's taste preferences turned out to cost my agency over $3,000 in cost overruns that could not be recouped. And the hardest thing for me to understand was that it was deliberate on his part. He operated on the assumption that bills came in and no one double checked them for validity against the original quote. He was right, for a while. My bookkeeper was busy and often overworked and had let quite a few bills slide by without cross referencing. She was mortified to discover her mistake and assured me that she had learned a very important lesson and would from here on never let a bill go unconfirmed. The art director was not as accepting of his error. He maintained that clients were stupid, and even if it cost the agency more money, we should be willing to pay the difference for whatever it cost to produce the highest quality work. I asked if he was willing to give up a percentage of his salary to contribute to that cause. That was a different story. He was not willing to do that as you may have surmised that moment was his last with my agency.

Mistakes can happen. But when they do, never try to cover them up. When they are discovered, and inevitably they will be discovered by someone, it will be far more dangerous for you. The wisest thing you can do in the face of any kind of mistake is to go directly to the agency owner and tell exactly what happened. I advise you not to go to your supervisor because that puts that person in the middle of the situation. In addition, your supervisor may insist on trying to correct it and only succeed in making it worse. Or if your supervisor decides to tell the o agency owner what happened for you, the owner will not have the benefit of hearing directly from you how sorry you are, or why or how it happened, and your sincere intentions to correct the mistake or pay for it if necessary.

It is rare that an agency owner would insist that an employee pay for a financial blunder that cost the agency money. I certainly would not have wanted my art director to make up the $3,000 loss. Just having him accept responsibility, admit that it was an error in judgment, and assure me that it would not happen again was all I needed. After all, he was an excellent designer. But his personal standards became more important than respecting the agency's position or the client's budget.
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