How you create an award-winning client agency collaboration

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The key to an award winning campaign is when an idea is communicated on social in an effective way. The key to an award winning collaboration is communication, full stop. Clear communication between a client and an agency is essential to ongoing success. As we approach nearly a three year milestone working with Discovery, it is an understatement that we’ve learnt a lot from this tight-knit partnership. Acting as an integral part of a client’s marketing/comms team has allowed us to cement ourselves as indispensable to both their social strategy ideation and implementation. So, how exactly did we get there?

The first element to building an ideal client/agency collaboration is reliability. Once or twice a week, at least one of our team will be based in their London office working alongside the team at Discovery to ensure the smooth sailing of several of their key brands. Being this touchpoint in the office allows us to guide the topline marketing strategy around the social pages and to be directly involved in meetings, brainstorms and partnerships with talent and influencers. Rather than limiting ourselves to calls and emails, actually being that presence in the room means that ideas are communicated effectively and succinctly. It allows us to be the social expert that the client needs, and can consistently rely on.

The second element to a successful client and agency collaboration is cementing that additional level of trust. Yes, receiving a brief from a client and delivering results is all well and good, but every agency should go the extra step and ask, ‘how can we demonstrate additional loyalty?’ The answer is insight. By providing insight behind everything you do, you assure your client that their brand is in safe and sensible hands. Everything is being actioned for a reason and has thought out logic behind it. Before taking on Quest UK, one of Discovery’s brands, we consciously ensured we hired a social strategist with a keen eye for everything football, so we were fully prepared for the launch of the EFL – one of Quest’s biggest pulls on TV and digitally. Without this insider knowledge, we’d be out of our depth to hold that conversation with fans and would struggle to innovate in terms of our creative and strategic planning.

Innovation through collaboration

This point leads onto the final element to an award winning collaboration – the willingness to innovate. In strategy, creative and paid media, across campaigns or activations, it’s important to treat your brands as more than broadcast channels. People follow a brand because they want to hear what they have to say. Collaborating with Discovery, we as an agency work hard to curate human-focused brands that spawn meaningful social interactions online. We’re continuously looking for ways to keep the brands fresh, reactive and on the pulse, whether that’s through cross-agency and client brainstorms or utilising social platforms to bring people together during a global pandemic.

It’s the little things that go a long way in making an audience feel respected and appreciated. To make them feel like they’re talking to a person, not a screen. Across Discovery’s brands we’ve recently launched a series of interactive Facebook show watch parties to bring superfans of shows and talent/influencers together during these uncertain times. Drilling into that raw sense of fandom and nostalgia is comfort for people across the world, simply in need of something to fill their time. And above all, it shows a brand willing to go the extra mile for their followers and provide the star treatment.

To conclude, the key elements to a successful client/agency collaboration are reliability, trust and the willingness to innovate. These three action points all factor into the foundation of communication that sustains an ongoing, successful collaboration. With any campaign, brief or activation thinking about these pillars in your approach will be the key to driving real, measurable success for your team, and most importantly will allow you to become the social expert for your client.

Ryan Nair, strategist at Wilderness

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