Soundbites from clients: the IPA’s Modern Briefing 2

I went to the IPA Strategy Group Modern Briefing 2 event last week, where clients spoke about how they want to / do brief agencies. Very good it was too, I thought I’d share some key soundbites as a few are very good food for thought

Ben Malbon, Google Creative Labs, NY (talking about agencies who work with Google)

“Be a head chef, not a waiter” – i.e. don’t take an order, make a recommendation – be proactive

We don’t really brief because it’s a chaotic environment, in permanent sprint mode. We frequently have no idea what we need.

We need agencies to understand our users more fully than we do, to bring real understanding.

We get caught down in the woods so elevate us back up.

 Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media (talking about working with BBH and his media agency) 

“I know I’ll only get the head of strategy for so much of the time so I want to use him in the key business meeting of the week”: he called this a “front of dog” meeting – so that he can then give everybody else in the building a working brief.

He referred to this process as “briefing from the inside” and says more and more clients should work in this way (again the theme of ‘no formal brief’ made an appearance).

“The client shouldn’t write the brief” – if they do they know the answer they want and it becomes an exam question: did you get the answer right?

Jeff said that he’s done a pitch for and with his media agency- such is the closeness of the relationship – because he knows that if he gives a little bit, he’ll get a lot back.

 Jeremy Taylor, O2

He compared his agency to the cost of a press ad when talking to procurement – by comparison people seem like good value.

Greg Nugent (ex-Eurostar, ex-LOCOG)

“I just don’t buy this procurement argument. If you’re moaning about it, it’s because you simply haven’t made yourself indispensable (as an agency or personally) – procurement will never say you can’t have that agency or that person if the client wants it and values it highly enough.”

“There is nothing to be gained from rigidity – my problem can’t fit into your template, stop trying to force it”.

The main themes being: get involved, get inside the business and be proactive from there.

Posted by David Wilding (@drwilding), Head of Planning


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