Proof That Better Client-Agency Relationships Deliver Better Work

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There’s lots of evidence showing that good working relationships lead to better performance

It doesn’t matter if the relationship is between employee and employer or between contractor and client – the higher the levels of trust and understanding – the better the joint performance. So does the same rule apply to the way that clients and their advertising agency relate? Can we prove that the better the relationship the better the advertising quality?

Our Data

If anybody is able to research this relationship it’s Aprais. Over the past 20 years we have evaluated over 21,000 client-agency relationships across 92 countries in just about every consumer category. We decided to analyse this dataset of more than 18 million data-points to see if we could ‘prove’ this hypothesis.

Define Better And Effective Advertising

There are so many variables, so many intangibles and the general absence of comparable data that we decided to short-cut the process and look at peer recognition of campaigns that ‘worked’. The Effie Awards. According to their website, ‘the Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry, and recognize any and all forms of marketing communication that contribute to a brand's success’.

A perfect measure? No. But at least we were able to access a range of campaigns and identify the involved marketers and agencies for each, that were considered to be ‘effective’ by people who should know how to identify them.

Define A ‘Good Client-Agency Relationship’

If we could compare the relationship scores from these Effie ‘winning’ relationships with the overall Aprais database for the same period, we should be able to see if the winners were better, worse or the same as all others.

The Method In Our Madness

We sifted through all the 2018 Effies winners to uncover instances where the client-agency involved had been evaluated by Aprais. In other words, where the winning campaign could be directly linked to a relationship under evaluation.

We discovered a total of 69 instances where we had data matching Effies Award winners. These included a few duplicates where one relationship had won an award in more than one category. To introduce some sense of ‘cause and effect’, analysis of the 2018 winners were based on Aprais scores for roughly 6 months prior. What we were endeavouring to discover was the state of the client-agency relationship at the time the work was being developed as opposed to the scores at the time of winning the award.

Better Relationships, Deliver Better Work

When we compared the ‘winners’ to our general database we found that;

  • In 72% of cases the agency evaluation of their client, we call it the A of C, scores were above the Aprais global average and,
  • In 74% of cases, the marketers score of their agency, the C of A, was higher than our average.

Concluding The Obvious?

We instinctively know that harmonious client and agency relationships are ‘a good thing’. We now know that it is not just better for the agency and client staff but it results in improved advertising quality and that has P&L value for both organisations.