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Agencies demand clearer briefs

News, 24 April 2015

NEW YORK: Agencies and clients continue to have widely diverging views on important areas of their working relationship, namely briefs and compensation.

A new survey – Enhancing Client/Agency Relations 2015 – carried out by the Association of National Advertisers during Q1 2015 revealed that these remained contentious areas. Just 27% of agencies, for example, reported that clients provided clear assignment briefs, while 58% of clients felt they were doing so.

Similarly, their perceptions of what constituted fair compensation differed significantly. Almost three quarters (72%) of clients thought what they were paying was reasonable, but just 40% of agencies agreed.

The need for a clearer agency assignment process was further emphasised by the gap in attitudes around the client approval process, which 54% of clients were satisfied with against 36% of agencies.

Procurement also emerged as a particular bugbear for the agencies in the survey, just 10% of which felt it added value to the client/agency relationship. And while clients were more enthusiastic, the fact that 47% backed it indicated that even they weren't completely convinced of its worth.

There was closer agreement on the development of in-house client resources, which 54% of clients and 47% of agencies thought were becoming a realistic option for clients.

More optimistically, two thirds (65%) of clients reported that agencies work well with other agencies, with agencies themselves were even more bullish – 88% agreed this was the case.

Despite their concerns the majority of both clients (87%) and agencies (86%) felt that the agency was a valued business partner that played an important role in the client's business strategy and in driving business results.

"We are pleased to see that at the core, client/agency relationships are sound," said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA.

And while that was a cause for optimism, he noted that "there are disturbing legacy issues that continue to plague the partnership" which had been further complicated by transparency concerns.

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by Warc staff