I’m not sure this analogy is going to hold together, but stick with me for a minute. Compare and contrast the following two experiences:
You go through the drive-through at your favorite local fast food provider to pick up lunch for your best customers or co-workers or vendors. You place your order (“Do you want fries with that?”), pull around to the window, hand over your money and receive several saggy, bloated bags of food in return. You head back to the office with the food and a persistent odor that permeates your car for weeks to come.
Or … you plan a dinner for your co-workers (clients, vendors, dealers, take your pick) with the chef at a local restaurant. You work together to create the menu, you offer suggestions and ideas throughout the process, taste test all the items, and then sit back proudly on the night of the reception as your guests enjoy a meal that you helped to create.
Which experience is more satisfying for you and for the people eating the food? Which experience is more likely to be successful and produce a return on your investment?
I’d argue that the second scenario will be more successful, and I would further suggest that the degree of success is in direct proportion to the level of partnership between you and the people creating the meal.
Such is the nature of partnerships. They create better results.
But don’t take just my word for it. Here’s what Bob Moore, Chief Creative Officer of Publicis, USA, has to say on the topic of partnering with clients:
“All the best work I’ve done has happened when there was a very close relationship between agency and client. For example, with Nike, we’d spend weekends together, party with each other, run races together. And that was a great model for me in terms of seeing how good work happens. You’d walk into a room at Nike and it wasn’t like the agency arriving; it was a friend who understood the brand and cared about it. If you trust your clients and your clients trust you, amazing things can happen.” *
And here’s what one of OUR clients said about partnering with MB:
“You truly have been the best partner I’ve worked with in my business career. You asked about the expected outcome, learned about what we wanted, and provided a project plan with dates and costs. When we moved into production you took charge and had suggestions when we asked for your opinion.
I knew we’d be in good hands with Martin Bastian, but I was overwhelmed by how great you guys really are.”
But really, in our experience, the best shows and videos that we’ve produced are the ones where we had a tight partnership with our client … where we’ve worked hand-in-hand from original idea through execution … and where we completely shared the objectives and the outcome.
Working that way is not only more effective, it’s infinitely more fun.
Or, to tie things nicely back to the opening analogy, the meal you make together is always going to taste better than the fast-food you bought from a pimply teenager. ‘Cause who wants anything that’s saggy and bloated, anyway?
* Creativity, October 2007.