Here at DIGITAL EXPOSURE we thrive on providing our clients these 5 tenants for success.
1) The agency listens more than it speaks.
An agency is most often hired because of its expertise. However, expertise in a vacuum remains in the realm of theory and best practice. To be truly effective, an agency must immerse itself in the culture of the client and aim to understand exactly what that client's needs are—beyond the project itself. What that means for you, the client, is that your agency must listen to you. Its goal is to reach a level of understanding where the agency is free to explore the possibilities within a framework defined by the client.
To achieve a true level of understanding, the agency must involve the right people from the start. In the best circumstances, every agency employee working on the project—both behind the scenes and with the client—will be involved in the conversation.
With digital projects spanning many disciplines—design, technology, branding—team involvement is imperative in order to capture all the nuanced details. The problem with limiting interactions to, let's say an account manager, is that communication turns into a game of telephone—something invariably gets lost in translation, or more important, details are missed in the first place.
2) The agency questions everything.
A good agency will ask you questions before getting started on a project. A great agency will question everything throughout the project. Both client and agency must embrace these questions as a way to get on the same page. When agency employees don't know the reasons behind decisions, it is nearly impossible to do effective work.
To understand what really needs to be accomplished, an agency must first understand why. The question why paves the path to intention. I often tell my staff to keep asking why until there are no questions left. Only then can you construct a solution that has the desired outcome: Who will benefit from a specific feature? What effect will this benefit have? What business value will be derived from this effect?