STANDSTILL agencies want partnerships.
STANDOUT agencies want relationships.
Lots of agencies talk about partnering with their clients. Some even refer to them as “partners” on their website.
There is a drive for equality in this mindset. A desire to be treated well and seen as an equal. But to me, it’s really only an expression of an inferiority complex.
The reality is, unless your agency has skin in the game; you have an investment in your client, or you are both funding the activity (and sharing the rewards of it), you are not partners. You are not equal.
Your client is your client. That’s a good thing. You must deliver for them and they must pay and treat you well. If this doesn’t happen, both of you are free to walk away.
STANDOUT agencies focus on engaging people not partnerships. Being a STANDOUT agency means being recognised and valued by your clients, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be seen as a partner.
You must work hard to not only deliver, but to build strong personal relationships with the people your work for. Both these things are required in order for them to continue to work with you. It’s a continuous process that can’t be cut short by calling people “partners”.