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Mar 24, 2020    Burn Book

Me vs. We: How to Foster Explosively Creative Collaboration


Unfortunately, some of the creatives in the Austin, Texas digital marketing field have gotten a reputation for being a little over-reliant on themselves when it comes to content creation and project execution. While a majority of these creatives have good intentions — trying to bear as much of the production load as possible so their clients don’t have to — it isn’t necessary.

Great marketing campaigns have always prospered from a collaborative relationship between a client and agency. Especially at Rock Candy Media, where we believe that no ego ever served a client and if you operate as a one-man-band, you probably won’t harmonize with us.

While several digital agencies in Austin may want to inspire synergetic relationships, many of them tend to fall short. In fact, the very efforts that are made to induce collaboration between a client and a creative department could be the very element making it worse.

We’ve heard horror stories from clients about past relationships that just didn’t mesh. And while it may make us cringe, we can’t help but use the mistakes of others to better our services.

Through those narratives, and our own experience involving incredibly cohesive creativity, we’ve been able to isolate what does and doesn’t encourage collaboration between a client and their digital marketing agency.

Team Building Turnoffs

When it comes to what dampens marketing collaboration between a client and their ad agency, there is a lot that has to do with common business communication skills. How you propose and respond to new ideas, opinions, or suggestions is imperative for future growth.

Pitching & Proposing – As an Agency

From an advertising agency proposal perspective, you need to be able to guide, instruct, and pitch your marketing strategies in an engaging way that is simple but non-patronizing.

Depending on who your client’s point of contact is, they may or may not understand the complexities or technicalities of the strategies you’re proposing. Walk them through it. Educate them on the tools and marketing techniques that you’re using. It will help them feel more at ease knowing exactly what their budget is going towards and will make them feel more involved in the process.

The digital marketing agencies who leave their clients in the dark about what’s going on are the agencies who don’t believe in a transparent and two-way relationship. And oftentimes, are the ones with something to hide. Those are the relationships that wither away as quickly as they came.

Pitching & Proposing – As a Client

When it comes to pitching and proposing from a client or an in-house point of view, there are a few things businesses need to know. If you’re with a good growth agency who believes in you, they don’t just listen to your idea, they help amplify it.

But when you are pitching your idea, which may have come internally, you must understand that your marketing agency is the professional and their opinions do carry some weight. So go into the proposal with an open mind, knowing that we are looking out for your best interest.

While the ways in which you pitch and propose ideas are important, both from a client and agency standpoint, the ways in which you respond to them are just as crucial.

Responding & Revising – As an Agency

Continuing on from our last scenario, in which clients are proposing new ideas or initiatives to the digital marketing agency, the way in which you respond can be done strategically to enhance growth.

At the end of the day, the client gets what the client wants. In the history of Rock Candy Media, there has hardly been a time where we said no to a client’s idea. The only one we axed that I can think of off the top of my head had something to do with a man repelling from a helicopter dressed as a Christmas present. It had something to do with drop-ship marketing, in any sense, the city of Austin shut it down and military jets were scattered over the capital.

In all seriousness, when a client comes to us with an idea that they’re incredibly passionate about that we are not entirely sure of, we do what we as digital marketers and content creators do – we polish, shine, and pivot that idea into something that makes the client happy and their returns plentiful. We work together.

Not once will you see us taking the high-horse and playing the “we know what we’re doing” card. If you have an idea that has potential but needs some maintenance, that’s what we’re here for. Don’t have an idea at all? We’ll invent one together.

Responding & Revising – As a Client

When it comes to responding to ideas from a client POV, there are a few things you should consider. The first is that it’s ok if you don’t entirely understand something. Ask your agency to walk you through it and explain things you don’t get. It’s part of our job!

And when it comes to rejecting an idea, for one reason or another, there is no need to sugarcoat it. While we’re passionate about our work, we handle rejection very well. Just ask our content strategist — he’s about 1 for 64 on Tinder matches this past month. And the 1 turned out to be a bot.

We operate in what our founder Annie Jones calls a “no butthurt-zone,” which basically means we don’t take things personally and won’t cry about our ideas being shot down. As creatives, feedback and corporate challenges are what make us better ideators and digital marketers. So to not give us feedback in it’s raw and unfiltered entirety would be doing us a disservice. Not only that, but it also won’t let us adjust our strategies to better suit your needs.

Can’t Start a Fire Without a Flame

We’ve worked with a lot of different brands in a lot of different industries. We’ve worked with wild business owners, crazy capitalists and zany executives. And we’ve loved every bit of it and prospered from what it taught us.

It’s the businesses and business owners with open minds and driven ambitions that we flourish with. But we don’t know if that relationship exists until you’re in our door and dissecting the details of what you want your brand to represent.

The bottom line? If you’ve got the flame, we’ve got the promotional propane tank waiting to cause an explosively creative collaboration. So what are you waiting for? Let’s make your business start blazing.

Let Your Curiosity Take Control