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Around the world and back again

I began my career in New York, in the late 90s, when what we did was still simply advertising, there was no “line” to run through, and digital was called “interactive” (really just two guys in the basement making banner ads).  TV was king, and budgets were massive.  It was an age of glamour, and I got to work with some amazing people.  I learned that James Earl Jones stammers and only wants chicken for lunch.  I got a bear hug from Samuel L. Jackson.  I worked at my first agency, Deutsch, for five and a half years and loved the rush of being involved with an award-winning agency coming up with the best creative ideas in town.

After 9/11, New York sobered up.  It was an age of austerity.  For a brief moment, New Yorkers let down their guard and bonded in a sense of shared vulnerability.  I moved to Sydney, Australia, with the intention of being a beach bum for 4 months, but fell in love with its beauty and incredible lifestyle and then stayed. I began to work in more integrated communications – direct and digital.  Big ideas needed to deliver, and ROI was king.

I left Sydney for London, where I worked for nearly 10 years.  Now I’m in Brighton at Designate, back to doing what I love… advertising… and feeling the rush of being in an award-winning agency coming up with the best creative ideas in town.  As Group Account Director, my job is to lead the client services team to deliver the best results for our clients.  And what I’ve realised is whether in New York, Sydney, London or Brighton, good client service looks the same.  Here’s my approach:

See things from your client’s point of view 

Our job is to put ourselves in our client’s shoes, to understand their needs, then do whatever we can to help them do their job better. When we begin a project, we immerse ourselves in our client’s business and ask ourselves questions from their point of view. Why is this deadline so important and what is driving it? What financial pressures are influencing this budget?

Treat your client’s business as if it were your own 

Make a real effort to get to know how your client’s business works. Why do they exist? What is their business model? What defines success or failure? Then make decisions as if it were your business. If it were your business, would you follow that plan? Is that the best use of precious resource or could the money be better spent elsewhere?

Design services that are as individual as your clients 

No two clients’ business challenges are the same. A rigid, one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf approach to client service does not work. We have to be nimble, flexible and agile. We have to work with our clients, understanding the way that they work. Start with the client, and build the process and approach outward. Not the other way around.

Good client service is the beating heart of a successful agency, no matter where you are in the world.  At Designate, we want our clients to feel confident that we understand them and their needs, trust that we are looking after their best interests and inspired by the solutions we provide for them. Quite simply, we want them to like working with us. That’s true partnership, and it’s what we strive for.

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