What should media agencies be doing for their clients right now?

Simple brand design

The answer?  It's simple.

I think it’s fair to say we can all agree we’re living in strange times.  In the last 12 months there are a host of words that I have learned and discovered a brand new hatred for.  They are (in no particular order): Zoom, Skype, prorogue, furlough and unprecedented.

Can anyone remember the days where the news cycle moved fast every day, politics was constantly changing and we were allowed to go to the pub?

Brands across the globe, are finding themselves smack bang in the middle of all of this uncertainty. They’re being forced to make business-critical decisions in a world where the goalposts are constantly moving.

Those same brands and their agencies are having to work at breakneck speed in an ever-changing world where technology facilitates a quick fix but as in the case of video conferencing brand, Zoom, can come with issues. 

So what should agencies be doing for their clients right now? The answer is simple. It’s about going back to basics and keeping it simple.  We’ve always been fans of plain English and now more than ever, it’s important for brands and agencies to bring simplicity into their relationships.

How should a good media agency be helping?  

  1. Building relationships – I heard an agency say last week that they aren’t speaking to clients as much now as many of them have started to reduce or pause spending.  Personally, I disagree with this approach. We all have a little bit more time on our hands at the moment (there’s only so much gardening, decorating and baking one person can do!) and that should mean we can focus on building strong, personal relationships with clients.  Agencies should spend this time understanding the needs of their clients, getting closer to them and understanding where they can truly help and add value to a client’s business. Paying it forward has never been so poignant!
  2. More video calls and fewer emails – I know I started this article expressing my annoyance with Skype and Zoom, but video conferencing technology has helped break down barriers and has facilitated some really interesting conversations and outcomes in the last couple of weeks.  Clients are forgiving of bed head, the wall behind you that has a random poster on it and children running around in the background. It shows that we’re just like them – human! So in these crazy times, let’s make our interactions with our clients count.  Not only does it add value, help build relationships and get things done quicker, it is also great for our mental health being able to see people, sharing thoughts and experiences with each other, even if it is virtual.
  3. Being available – I’ve read so many articles over the last 2 weeks that talk about how important the downtime is and how productive people have been on personal levels with their household chores, but we still need to be available.  Clients and their businesses rely on us to help keep their businesses growing. Without clients, we don’t exist, so it’s important that in between painting a wall or repotting plants in the garden, we remember that we exist to serve our clients and their businesses.  Being there for them when they need us will serve us and the relationships we’ve worked so hard to build, thrive in the future.
  4. For the fear of repeating myself, keep it simple – in these (dare I say it?), unprecedented times, simplicity often offers the best answer to a complex problem.  We are certainly in unchartered territory at the moment and problems that we haven’t had to think of before, have presented themselves in their masses (no matter how great your risk register is!).  It is important to not get sucked into processes and procedures that take up all of the time and resources that could be spent doing truly great work and because we find that where there is a simple answer to a complex problem, it means campaigns and other communications can happen swiftly and simply. 

So, let’s use these strange times to take things back to basics.  Let’s build those relationships by being available and finding simple solutions to complex situations so that together, we can realise the new and wonderful opportunities that will present themselves on the other side of these, unprecedented (I couldn’t resist!) times.