How to Be a Superstar Client

by Lucie Pathmann

Stone Ward’s clients are all great, however, superstar clients are hard to come by. Throughout the years I’ve been at Stone Ward, there has been plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with clients I would place in this “superstar” category. Having been a client for most of my career, I have grown more appreciative of those clients that know their role and really take part in the process. Here are the ten things our superstar clients do to help us keep Building Good on their behalf.

They are visionaries.

When our client has a vision, the work of the agency is far easier. While the work still may be hard to get to, a vision from the client helps the agency work harder to find the right message in the right channels. Many times, they have done the due diligence work to understand the circumstances of their brands. They have looked beyond the obvious and have created a vision for what the future will look like and have thoughts on how to communicate that vision. A superstar client starts by sharing their vision with the agency, provides us with measureable objectives to meet, gives us the resources to work with and who celebrates with us when we get there together.

They take responsibility.

Superstar clients know to get good work from an agency, they have to be there every step of the way. It’s not a, “here’s the assignment and come back to me in two weeks deal.” They have a huge part in the success of an agency, and they take on that responsibility by knowing their part in the process. They understand that deadlines can’t be met without their help along the way. They aren’t afraid of the hard conversations on their end and appreciate when the agency brings them up on our side. When they’ve missed the mark, they take ownership of the mistake instead of letting it roll down to the agency. They know that when you are constantly walking beside your agency, you’ll get more out of them along the way.

They are trustworthy.

Superstar clients share everything with their agency. There is no information hoarding here. Our superstar clients give us unfiltered access to the data that drives their decisions. They give us the opportunity to go inside their companies and truly enable us to understand their people and operations. They share their dreams and their biggest concerns unfiltered. They let us know how we are doing and what we can do to create mutual success.

They are equally good at collaboration and communication.

The clients our agency loves are the clients who understand the importance of collaboration coupled with respectful communication. They enjoy being a part of our process, as they know the more they are involved, the more they understand the thinking and ideas. These are the men and women who believe in the power of collective thinking, invite us to the table early and keep us involved through good communication and feedback.

They demand an integrated approach.

They think across all channels, new and old, and are not afraid to challenge the market status quo. They appreciate the agency bringing ideas that may not be in the scope of the work. This makes for a rewarding relationship and great marketing communications.

They champion good work.

The clients who have the authority to say yes and no are the ones we value most. Superstar clients can look at the work strategically, through the eyes of the target and not their own, determine whether or not the work is great and if it is, defend it as it goes through the approval process. They are accountable for the work, and if they agree it is on target, they are willing to fight for it.

They know when they are asking their agency to go the extra mile and don’t forget to say thank you.

Agencies love to be heroes for our clients. At Stone Ward, we are always willing to work the extra hours to make sure our clients get what they need to succeed. It never fails, that the super star clients take the extra a minute to acknowledge our contribution, and when they do, it makes the whole team feel a part of something larger than ourselves.

They are real people who are fun to be around.

Agencies spend a considerable amount of time with their clients. To us, having a client that shows us their fun side now and again strengthens the relationship and brings balance to the partnership. They celebrate with us and for us in many cases. When a client spends time with our team, it makes it easier for the team to understand the client in business situations and understands their direction.

They choose agencies whose values they share.

This is very important, not only to our clients, but to Stone Ward. Clients that don’t share the same values as the agency more than likely don’t last long within an agency. We’ve found that when our clients’ values are aligned with ours, the relationship is stronger and more able to stand the test of time.

They want their agencies to make a fair profit and to succeed in their business.

We have been so fortunate over the years to have clients who work with us to create partnerships that are win-win. Superstar clients understand that to keep the good people to do their work, to staff their teams appropriately, and to get results from the agency, the agency has to be able to be a successful company in its own right.