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A simple idea to create better client/agency partnerships

I don’t have children, but I used to be one and some would say I still am one; yeh yeh grow up.

Dom, my business partner does, and the other day he mentioned to me that he was due to attend an ‘observation hour’ at his daughter’s school.

I had never heard of this before, but essentially it is an hour when parents get to sit with their children during lesson time and observe their engagement, interaction and performance.

Now when I was a small human (some would say I still am) ideas like this didn’t exist.

Your parents asked how your day went and depending on your maturity or mood, you might dive into a detailed description of your day or utter a few syllables to ward off further questioning.

And then parents evening came around.

Adults on either side of a desk discussed their opinions of performance and agreed or disagreed. Whatever the outcome of those discussions, next steps were put in place to help develop your future.

This got me thinking about the parallels between parent/child and client/agency.

Lack of communication from an agency (child returning from a school day) can lead to an uninformed frustrated client (parent).

Lack of understanding by an agency can lead to poor delivery and a disappointed client.

Disappointed, frustrated clients can lead to poor grades for your agency.

And no one wants to hear bad news at the debrief (parents evening).

So maybe both parties should be open to an ‘observation hour’ when working on projects together?

Clients should make the time to visit their appointed agency, sit in on project meetings, meet the wider team and collaborate on new ideas.

Agencies should insist on spending time outside of the project, with their client, to understand the company objectives, infrastructure and strategy.

When both parties commit to investing the time to ‘observe’ each other, real collaboration and exciting ideas can happen.

Which leads to future success and development for all parties involved.

Class dismissed.


(age 46)


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