Are you the kind of client that agencies desperately want to
acquire and retain? Do you know what it takes to be a great
client? In “Think Diﬀerent,” I emphasized the unique qualities
industry leaders like Apple exhibit with their agencies to get
outstanding work. In “How Clients Drive Their Agencies Crazy,”
I spoke to the common mistakes made by brand advertisers
working with their agencies that ultimately lead to poor
relationships and performance. Successful brands are known
to be great clients, because unless they are, they are unlikely
to succeed. No wonder this is one of most commonly asked
questions: what will it take to be a kick-ass client?
This is an increasingly demanding environment, and no client
can aﬀord to miss out on the opportunity to turn roster
agencies into highly eﬀective and competitive growth engines
for their organization. After reviewing and compiling the
results of our clients’ agency evaluations, we can conﬁdently
say what agencies consider great clients to be, and what they
share in common.
#1. GIVE ENOUGH TIME AND RESOURCES:
Great clients understand that agencies can’t always
be in ﬁre-drill mode to deliver strategically sound
work. They give enough time for the agency to
deliver against their objectives. They provide them
with the necessary resources to deliver great work.
#2. ARE RESPECTFUL AND COLLABORATIVE:
Great clients are straightforward yet respectful.
They act with consideration and show respect –
to the agency team, to the work, to the process.
They value their agency’s opinion. They act fairly
and are always transparent. They foster a spirit of
partnership and teamwork to encourage cross-
#3. PROVIDE CLEAR DIRECTION:
Great clients give clear and consistent direction
to the agency on business challenges. They invest
time upfront to prepare and use the agency
resources wisely. They take ownership of the brief
and use it as the reference point throughout.
What Will Make You
a Kick-Ass Client
What great clients do to turn their agencies into powerful growth engines.
By: Bruno Gralpois
Author/Speaker, Thought-provocateur, Client/Agency Guru, Entrepreneur, Innovator
Our clients’ continued accomplishments result
from cutting-edge practices in the area of client/
agency performance evaluations. See how stronger
relationships contribute to better marketing
Contact us at www.agencymaniasolutions.com
#4. ARE RISK TAKERS:
Great clients are open minded and let their
agencies push them. They take calculated risks.
They challenge the status quo or encourage
their agencies to do so. They are open to
innovative ideas and critical thinking. They
encourage and reward innovation and creativity.
#5. ARE DEMANDING OF OTHERS AND THEMSELVES:
Great clients set realistic but high expectations.
They set the bar high. They deﬁne success clearly
and ensure everyone is focused on driving
business results. More importantly, they lead
#6. PROVIDE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK:
Great clients are fair and realistic, and they
realize that they get what they pay for. They
provide constructive, clear, consolidated and
timely feedback and rationalize their decisions.
#7. COMMUNICATE PROACTIVELY:
Great clients communicate often, share relevant
information and make themselves accessible to
their agency partners. They make sure data and
relevant information are freely shared between
team members and agencies. They involve the
agency early on.
#8. INSPIRE OTHERS:
Great clients motivate others by inspiring them
and making them feel valued and appreciated.
They are talent magnets. They know how to best
leverage the talent of their agency. Agencies
actually enjoy working for them.
#9. CHAMPION IDEAS AND ARE ACCOUNTABLE:
Great clients stand behind the work, no matter
the outcome. They feel mutually accountable
for the work. They champion big ideas and help
bring them to life. They approve work in a timely
manner or get input from key decision makers.
Bruno Gralpois is the co-founder of
Agency Mania Solutions, a premier service
and technology ﬁrm specialized in helping
companies realize the transformational
value of managed partnerships. Bruno is
the author of best-seller “Agency Mania”
and the former chair of the Association of
National Advertisers (ANA) Client/Agency
Committee and a faculty member of the
ANA School of Marketing.
If you would like to learn how to
drive greater value from your
consider reading Agency Mania
signing up for our complimentary
GIVE ENOUGH TIME AND RESOURCES
PROVIDE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK
ARE RESPECTFUL AND COLLABORATIVE
PROVIDE CLEAR DIRECTION
ARE RISK TAKERS
CHAMPION IDEAS AND ARE ACCOUNTABLE
ARE DEMANDING OF OTHERS AND THEMSELVES
TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
ARE APPRECIATIVE AND SUPPORTIVE
#10. TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY:
Great clients understand their role in making
the relationship successful. They are willing to
look under the hood and address behaviors that
negatively impact the relationship and the work.
They are willing to listen and take action resulting
from the agency’s feedback.
#11. ARE APPRECIATIVE AND SUPPORTIVE:
Great clients acknowledge great work and
celebrate talent, which in turn contributes to
talent retention and ultimately better work.
They believe that a successful agency translates
into better talent and service.
The famous and visionary Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh
used to say: “Great things are not done by impulse, but by
a series of small things brought together.” The same can
be said of great clients. Follow these best practices, be the
client every agency wants and see the work quality and