Building a powerful partnership between business and brand agency

Short Read

The partnership between brand agency and organisation defines the success of a brand project.


I could talk about this topic for days and it is something I feel very passionate about. A few years ago, I spearheaded the change of my team’s name from Client Services to Client Partnerships. I strongly believe that the best, most effective and impactful creative work happens when there is a partnership between brand agency and client. Not a contractual relationship; an actual partnership.


So, how do you build a partnership?


Quite often, a rebrand might be the first time the brand agency and business have worked together. This is hard. Neither party knows each other well; this unknown is anxiety-inducing. There is a lot on the line; clients’ reputations internally, the agency’s reputation externally, not to mention the investment involved.


Both parties have a role in starting the project open to trust and filled with respect. The brand agency are responsible at the outset for instilling trust in the business; showing there is a clear and proven process for delivering this piece of work, communicating what’s to come and delivering on that. The client is responsible for sharing all they can with their agency; from research and insights, through to brands they admire or inspire them. Clients that aren’t forthcoming in the early stages are making everyone’s jobs harder.


A shared vision for the brand is a must in order to create a strong partnership.


The objectives and ambitions of the business and the brand agency need to be aligned; not just for the final brand but how you intend to get there. This might seem an obvious point but sometimes it’s quite clear that the objectives and expectations of each party are in fact quite different which will lead to conflict.


Start every brand project with an alignment meeting – gathering the key stakeholders and running back over the brief, the roles and responsibilities, the project plan and the KPIs to ensure everyone is aligned. Every presentation from then on is a chance to keep aligned; it’s why we push for key decision-makers to be in presentations. We need to hear from them and they need to understand our rationale behind the creative direction in order to provide constructive feedback.


One of our values as an agency is ‘experts, not egos’. And key to creating a powerful partnership between business and brand agency.


Brand agencies are experts in building brands and clients are experts on their business; the two together is a winning combination. At Nalla, our most successful projects are ones where there is a genuinely collaborative approach. That doesn’t mean design by committee. It means that each party within the combined brand team understands and performs their role within the project.


Both agencies and clients can add huge value to a project and if everyone plays to their strengths it not only creates a super-powered brand team, it creates a super-powered brand. One capable of building valuable connections with its audience.