Value and trust – one empowers the other

Thursday, 16th July 2020

Guest blog by John Whalley, Stategic Director at Use.Space and Head of Branding at Seventy7.

The past few months have taught us much, and it’s certain that the coming months will continue to do so. There has been (and is being) much written about ‘unprecedented times, ‘new normal, ‘working from home (#wfh), and I for one have seen enough ‘7 ways to articles to last me several lifetimes.

It’s time to reset and to move forward, and in doing so, it is also time to reappraise the concept of value, and what it really means.

Put this into the context of my industry – the creative industry – and consider agency owners. How should they calculate the value of the creatives they employ?

Should this be based upon chargeable hours that result in projected profit margins, or should it be based upon the positive impact their work has on the client. One is business critical and a straight-forward calculation, the other sometimes more difficult to quantify, yet it’s in this second criteria where the true value surely lies. Contribute to the success of a client and that client has every reason to stay with you.

And let’s look at the creatives themselves, many of whom currently find themselves working from home. Can they function effectively without the governance of a regular regime?

Creatives with no structured day, scary right? Maybe not, could be it’s quite the opposite. Working remotely actually allows the creative process to take place when it’s at it’s optimum best, which does not always align with traditional structured office hours. Working remotely also allows valuable, and very necessary, thinking time. Trust me, i’ve had most of my best ideas when out in the fresh air walking the dogs.

What about the clients themselves, how do they get the most value from their agency?

So many begin by assessing a portfolio of work and by taking a look at the list of other clients the agency works with. But what about insight, knowledge, enthusiasm, personality and commitment? All of these have a tangible value attached to them.

Ask if your agency is curious, not in the ‘we’ve got table-football kind of way, but in their outlook, behaviour and thirst for what’s new and what’s next. The sharing of insight, knowledge and trends should be a given in any agency/client relationship. This is how lasting partnerships are built, and exciting new goals regularly set.

Pretty much every agency describes themselves as ‘passionate’ about their work. Passion is highly valuable too, but only when there is trust and synchronicity between agency, client and project brief. If these three things are not aligned, enthusiasm will simply translate to wasted energy.

As we ‘build back better we must recognise that for the creative industry – as well as for most other industries – value and trust are inextricably linked. One is empowered by the other.

For clients this means looking beyond ‘how much per hour or how much per day? comparisons and instead choosing an agency partner they believe in and trust to help them grow, succeed and enjoy reaching their goals.

For agencies this means demonstrating a comprehensive appreciation of a clients goals (rather than simply their budget), and a deep understanding of consumer expectations, wants and needs. It also means trusting the creatives they employ to use this information to deliver positive impact.

For the creatives themselves, it means being trusted – by both their agency employer and their client – to do their best and most impactful work, wherever they happen to be.