5 ways to fix the broken agency partnership model

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Creative briefing: Follow the leader

When there are alternate agencies driving a campaign, it's often unclear where the line is in terms of brand standards, messaging, and even strategy. Which agency is in charge? What is mandatory? Does everyone understand the strategy?

A couple of years ago, we were the agency of record for a consumer electronics company that was launching a new product. We managed the brand strategy, the online work, the offline work, the social media, the website, the retail presence -- we even named the product.

Except there was one thing the client wanted to handle directly: events. Instead of having us hire an event marketing company, the client wanted to work with that company directly.

We joined the client in briefing this partner. We walked its team members through the strategy. We showed them the creative. We told them the client wanted event ideas that were integrated into all of the other efforts the brand was doing.

The event marketing company came back with three ideas -- that had nothing to do with anything we showed them. On their own, they could have been great ideas. But they weren't on their own.

The client fired the company.

Adam Kleinberg is CEO of Traction.

On Twitter? Follow Kleinberg at @adamkleinberg. iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Closeup picture of businesspeople shaking hands" image via Shutterstock.