How to Build a Successful Partnership with Your Agency?

I recently found myself in a conversation with a founder from IIT, who casually mentioned they could whip up 10 graphics in 10 minutes using Canva. The overthinker in me immediately jumped to conclusions:

  • “Should I challenge them to a design-off?”
  • “Do they not understand the value of good design?”
  • “Are they underestimating the work that goes into creating quality visuals?”

But, as the rational side of my brain kicked in, I realized something important.

Founders: Your Agency Knows What They’re Doing

Just as founders have expertise in building businesses, agencies have expertise in what they offer. We’ve spent years honing our skills, understanding visual communication, and mastering the tools of our trade. When you hire an agency, you’re not just paying for pretty pictures; you’re investing in a team of professionals who know how to translate your brand’s message into compelling visuals.

Respecting Time and Expertise

The truth is, creating 10 graphics in 10 minutes might be possible, but the quality of those graphics is questionable. Good design takes time. It requires research, ideation, iteration, and refinement. Rushing the process can lead to sloppy work, missed opportunities, and a brand image that falls short.

When you work with an agency, trust their process. They have the experience and knowledge to guide you towards the best visual solutions for your brand. If you find yourself questioning their methods or micromanaging their work, it might be a sign that you don’t trust their expertise. And if that’s the case, it’s better to have an open and honest conversation about your concerns. If the relationship isn’t a good fit, it’s perfectly okay to part ways and find an agency that aligns better with your values and expectations.

Collaboration, Not Competition

Remember, the goal is to work together to create visuals that elevate your brand and resonate with your audience. This involves open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to learn from each other.

So, the next time you find yourself tempted to make a bold claim to your agency, take a step back and consider the value of collaboration. Trust your agency to do what they do best, and let them surprise you with their creativity and expertise. After all, you hired them for a reason.

In the end, I simply replied to the founder, “That’s impressive, but we prefer to take our time to ensure quality. We appreciate your patience.”

And that’s the approach I encourage all founders to take. Respect the expertise of your agency, trust their process, and let them work their magic. The results will speak for themselves.

Here are 5 more examples of founder expectations that can be problematic for agency relationships, alongside advice on how to approach them constructively:

  1. The “Just Make it Go Viral” Founder: This founder believes every piece of content should be a viral sensation, overlooking the nuanced strategies and long-term brand building involved.

    • Advice: Understand that viral success is rare and not always sustainable. Focus on building a brand that resonates with your target audience, not chasing fleeting trends.
  2. The “I Want to Approve Every Single Tweet” Founder: This founder wants complete control over every detail, leading to micromanagement and hindering the agency’s creativity and efficiency.

    • Advice: Trust the expertise of your agency. They’ve been hired for their skills and experience. Establish a clear approval process upfront, but then step back and let them do their job.
  3. The “My Competitor is Doing X, We Need to Do It Better” Founder: This founder fixates on competitors, potentially leading to reactive and inauthentic strategies.

    • Advice: Your brand is unique. Instead of copying competitors, focus on what makes your company special and develop a strategy that highlights your strengths.
  4. The “We Need Results Yesterday” Founder: This founder expects immediate results, overlooking the time it takes to build a following and generate engagement organically.

    • Advice: Marketing takes time. Set realistic expectations and understand that building a loyal audience and seeing significant results is a long-term process.
  5. The “I Know What’s Best for My Audience” Founder: This founder believes they have a deep understanding of their audience without relying on data or insights.

    • Advice: While your instincts are valuable, data-driven decisions are key to success. Trust your agency’s research and insights to guide your marketing strategy.

Key Communication Tips for Founders:

  • Trust Your Agency: You’ve hired experts for a reason. Give them the autonomy to do what they do best.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Discuss achievable objectives and timelines upfront.
  • Communicate Openly: Regular check-ins and transparent communication are crucial for a successful partnership.
  • Value Expertise: Recognize that your agency has valuable skills and insights to offer.
  • Be a Partner, Not a Boss: Collaborate with your agency to achieve shared goals.

By fostering a collaborative and respectful relationship, founders can empower their agencies to deliver exceptional results and elevate their brand’s presence on LinkedIn.

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