ARTICLE: WHY BRAND ADVERTISERS AND AGENCIES MUST ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS TO BUILD BETTER PARTNERSHIPS
“Judge a man [or woman] by his [or her] questions rather than his [or her] answers.” That famous quote is often wrongly attributed to French philosopher Voltaire. The quote was by Pierre Marc Gaston de Lévis, Duke of Lévis and a politician who wrote his thoughts about morality following the French Revolution. It was a time when questioning authority and everything else mattered greatly, and people often had more questions than answers.
Fast forward to today when leaders are facing a business revolution fueled by incredible economic and competitive pressures. Relationships among brands and their agencies share a similar dilemma; questions are many, but answers can be scarce. Simply stated: Things might not be working as they should between a client and their agency, but you don’t always know why.
Better Scope Questions
The planning and scope alignment process that contributes to clarifying what work will be produced and what resources will be needed (financial, human or both) has drastic implications on work performance and the financial construct of the relationship. If you don’t get the scope and financials aligned from the outset, little really matters down the road. Aligning the planning and scope process is an important building block.
To get it right, advertisers and their agencies should ask the following questions:
Better Brief Questions
The briefing process is notoriously known to prompt a rich yet necessary dialogue between the client and the agency to start work based on crystal-clear objectives and expectations. Like scoping, the briefing process sets up the partnership for success when done properly. The more clarity obtained upfront, the better the work and the most effective use of agency resources later on.
Advertisers and their agencies should ask the following questions:
Better Relationship Questions
Most advertisers conduct performance evaluations yearly or twice a year to evaluate the health of the partnership and identify areas of improvement. This process is essentially based on a series of closed- and open-ended questions that allow both parties to provide constructive feedback and agree on a set of actions. But not all questions are equal. Many performance evaluations fail to deliver truly actionable insight because they simply ask the wrong questions. Advertisers and their agencies should ask the following questions:
Let’s face it: Asking the right questions can be uncomfortable, whether it applies to your professional or personal life. Yet, if done respectfully and with the right intent, asking tough questions can remove unnecessary tension and address potential disagreements. It also leads to better understanding and collaboration. In business, the questions you ask are often more important than the answers you obtain, and they pave the way for the answers you need to strengthen the partnership.
Let’s ask better questions.
By Bruno Gralpois, Author/Speaker, Thought-provocateur, Client/Agency Guru, Entrepreneur, Innovator
April 30, 2022