Listening Disorders Are Prime Cause of Client-Agency Partings

23 October 2007

LONDON: Forget E=MC squared. And the double helix, the wheel, penicillin, the worldwide web and other revelations from the Temple of the Blinding Light. All pale into insignificance alongside the latest findings by UK agency search and selection consultancy AAR Group.

From whichever side of the client-agency fence you hail, relax upon the corporate chaise longue and rejoice in your new-found awareness of another great universal truth.

And the Eureka! factor is ...

That relationship breakdowns between clients and agencies are due to the parties' failure to listen to each other.

According to AAR ceo Kerry Glazer, the firm's research has identified good news and bad.

The good news is that a majority of clients and agencies (respectively 88% and 95%) believe that relationship breakdowns can be avoided.

The bad news is that a sparse 8% of the former and 10% of the latter believe that relationships are managed "very well".

When asked to recall their own experience of relationship failure, clients tended to focus on "declining agency output", agencies on "people and their relationships".

And around 15% of agencies complained they received no warning from their partner that a divorce was on the cards.

Clients, for their part, mainly cited poor agency response levels and changes in agency personnel as the main destructors of relationships.

While over half of agencies (54%) attributed the schism to difficult clients and 39% a change of client personnel as their key reasons for ending the affair.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff