Today’s landscape requires companies to find competitive advantages wherever possible. In a world of coupled processes, where organisations are trying to deliver captive end-to-end tech-enabled solutions, more and more global brands are looking to leverage and integrate the “best of the best” agency collaboration model as their world-class answer to a rapidly evolving market.
Why do agency collaboration partnerships work? At its core, this model involves several different organisations, with different skillsets, working together for a shared common goal. It allows you to take the best of each company and focus on their core offering in order to build a solution that specifically answers your clients’ needs and goals.
Here are four simple reasons why an agency collaboration solution may be the best approach
You get better results by having partners who are willing to respectfully challenge ideas, processes, and solutions.
You can leverage what companies do best within each step of the process (perfect example – focused creative companies are experts on the creative process, but not necessarily on developing technology, implementing a global campaign or staffing the lunchroom).
You get a creative think-tank of the best and most knowledgeable people to collaborate in delivering solutions that leapfrog the rest of the market.
You achieve a best of breed solution, allowing you to focus on your core competency.
Nobody is great at everything. Each of us personally develops knowledge and expertise by focusing our efforts on a handful of things. Becoming the best takes focus, time, and practice. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers makes the argument that it takes 10,000 hours to become truly skilled at something, while Greg McKeown outlines the advantages of focus in his book ‘Essentialism’.
While some companies look to acquire to augment their offering, most look to find partners to deliver a more robust solution. Finding partners that can self-manage the facilitation and collaboration can be tricky.
A few things to look for when developing your agency collaboration strategy:
- Does the company understand its core competency within the process?
- Will the company respect what each partner is bringing to the solution?
- Are there good, open APIs and connectors if technology integration is required, allowing for interchangeability if something new comes out that could add more value or be disruptive in the industry?
- Is the partner commercially minded enough to take the time to understand the bigger picture?
- Do they have experience collaborating with other partners in order to deliver solutions that meet client expectations?
- Are they focused on delivering quality?
- Are they honest and believable?
- Do they own the end result or do they use it as an opportunity to pass the blame?
How do you develop an effective agency collaboration partnership in the global marketing space?
It should come as no surprise that companies who focus on their core offering first deliver something unique. Fly-by-night companies that offer everything, or that are trying to be all things to all people, only see dollar signs and miss out on the bigger picture of what is truly going to bring value to the end client. Buyers have gotten smart. They recognise that when a vendor says that they’re great at everything, it’s likely that they aren’t that great at anything. Agency collaboration partnerships aren’t just a new trend, they are quickly becoming a requirement to stay competitive in the marketplace.
1. Measure twice, cut once
Get the right people in the room at the strategy planning phase. This should include: the client, creative agency, media agency, and global marketing implementation partner. Get in to the details – you receive benefits through the knowledge of each contributing to the think-tank, which allows for expectations, schedules, roles, technology to be used, and ownership to be defined. Establish a facilitator to act as the single point person to ensure that everyone is delivering throughout the process. Bring everything to the table that will be required to keep costs low (i.e. what additional shots would be required to adapt and localise a TV spot) and do it all in one go. This step creates transparency of the end-to-end process, and provides peace of mind that the global marketing campaign will run efficiently and perform in each of the targeted regions.
2. The Creative process – with a capital “C”
Once the strategy and plan have been agreed and schedules and ownerships documented, the creative process begins. This of course sits with the creative agency. The global implementation or media partner should not interfere with the creative process, however everyone in the process should be comfortable challenging each other to get the most from the solution.
3. Media strategy collaboration
Coinciding with the creative process, the media agency is working on a media strategy to define what assets will be required for each region. In addition to the assets, the media agency will help you focus your media investment to ensure that you get the returns that you are seeking.
4. Coordination, adaptation and localisation that resonates
The adaptation, transcreation, and global production process is managed by your marketing implementation agency. For a global campaign to be successful, the concept and creative needs to comply with legal/regulatory requirements, and there may be cultural considerations that need to be embraced. The implementation team will align the right resources to ensure that the campaign is right in each region and language, and will make sure that the message evokes the right response and is in line with the original creative/campaign whilst being regionally appropriate. When done right, the end product should appear to have been created locally, and not as a translated message.
5. Media plan execution
Lean on your global creative production company to help get the assets cleared and directed to where they need to be. Clearance and tagging requires a language element, and your global creative production partner has the ability to easily support these requirements. This is a multi-step, structured process that includes briefing and submitting the assets for clearance, tagging the assets and getting them where they need to be in a timely manner.
6. Post mortem and continuous improvement
Bring the team together to have a post mortem. The “best of the best” are always looking for ways to become better, and this creates a good forum to ensure that you are getting what you deserve from each process. Again, you should see some inter-team challenging, which helps everyone improve and more aligned to your vision, brand and goal.
Want to know more about effective global collaboration? Download our Marketing Implementation Guide for global brands.