Having been on the client side for about 15 years, I can honestly say, trust is what makes a good partnership a great relationship. Much like a marriage, your relationship with your agency has to have a foundation of trust. And, what’s important to note, is that it has to be both ways, if the client doesn’t trust the agency or the agency doesn’t trust the client (and believe me that happens more than I thought) the partnership will not work in the long run.
Most of that trust is built by the point of contact on the agency side. So in my position, I’m always asking our brand managers to put themselves in the shoes of their clients? How would you feel if you received this plan, report, etc.? Would you be satisfied? Did you really listen to them? Are you doing what it takes to deserve the trust of your client? What a brand manager does affects the way the client views the entire team.
From the client side, it’s important to understand that everything will not always be perfect. The agency is a team of humans, and humans make mistakes. If there’s trust it’s easier to get through the mistakes and the “valleys” of a relationship. Having trust, makes the tough conversations easier to have (I know that seems weird) because the client realizes firing the agency means firing a lot of good people and the history they have with their business.
What is the result of trust? The answer is simple, great work. When there mutual trust and respect for what the other brings to the relationship, everyone wins.