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The Brand Manager's Series: the best advice from McDonald's, R/GA, Collective London and more

Over the past five weeks, The Drum in partnership with the Recommended Agency Register has run a series of articles featuring views and opinions of some of the UK's most powerful marketers on how brands can get the most out of their relationship with the agencies they employ.

The Brand Manager’s series has provided unique insights on the main aspects of the client-agency relationship, including agency pitching and selection, the best ways of engaging with agencies, and the changes in the agency landscape in the digital era.

The articles are part of the Brand Manager’s book, written by RAR managing director Steve Antoniewicz and The Drum's online editor Stephen Lepitak and published last year.

To mark the end of the series, The Drum has identified the best advice from top UK’s marketers who have contributed to the series.

How to engage with agencies: Donna Howitt, marketing director, Liverpool One

The key thing […] is don’t be afraid to try new ideas. The world is their oyster at the moment and digital offers a real opportunity to test new techniques but new ideas will only achieve cut through if people are willing to be brave and experiment.If you don’t brief clearly at the outset, you face a fair few challenges and come into difficulties in terms of delivering to the times set out. It just has to be absolutely clear from the outset what it is you want to get out of agencies. We try to treat them as an extension of our own team.

How to choose agencies: Jo Webster, head of marketing, McDonald’s UK

The biggest thing that I’ve learned through agency pitching and appointing agencies is making sure that the people who are pitching are the same ones who will be working on your business. Quite often agencies will have a team that pitch to you, and part of the decision for selecting that agency is down to the rapport, relationship and the trust that you’ve built with that team, and then suddenly they introduce a new account team without warning.

The Changing agency landscape: Nick Constantinou, CEO, Collective London

We can only create work of genuine client and consumer value if we start with a deep understanding of human behaviour. It’s not about the greatest and latest technology trend. We must first focus on how real people are living their lives – their behaviours, their pain points and their desires. If we start by understanding this, we will utilise the right technology, whether it’s emerging or not.

Great partnerships and new ways of working: George Prest, executive creative director, R/GA

While budget is often designated for a specific area, agencies shouldn’t be scared to think of ways of using that in an innovative way.

Marketing's stars of the future on the challenges they face: James Butcher, Bing marketing manager, Microsoft

Marketers must make constant trade-offs between learning as much as possible for their brand by committing small amounts of spend to ‘test and learn projects’ versus placing big bets on initiatives that drive the business forward. This piece was originally published as part of The Recommended Agency Register (RAR) Brand Manager's Book, released last year. A copy of the RAR Brand Manager's Bookis available for free online to client-side marketers. For more information on the Recommended Agency Register, see its newly launched website.

UK, R/GA, Collective London, Liverpool One, McDonald's, Microsoft, The Drum Recommends, Modern Marketing, Marketing Services