Nurturing the ideal Agency-Client relationship

During a fireside chat at AgencyCon, Vishal Chinchankar of Madison Digital & Madison Alpha, and Girish Hingorani of Blue Star Limited talk about the ideal agency-client relationship in advertising including what both parties need from each other.

Shamita Islur
New Update
Agency-Client relationship

The ideal agency-client relationship in advertising would make for a well-oiled machine, where both parties work collaboratively towards achieving common goals while respecting each other's expertise, perspectives, and contributions.

At the fourth edition of AgencyCon, featuring discussions and valuable insights within advertising, media, and marketing, industry experts delved into the nuances of what constitutes ‘Ideal Agency-Brand Relationships’. 

The fireside chat, featuring Vishal Chinchankar, CEO of Madison Digital & Madison Alpha, and Girish Hingorani, VP - Marketing & Corporate Communications, Blue Star Limited, provided invaluable insights into fostering collaborative partnerships that drive mutual growth and success.

Chinchankar opens the conversation by citing a study which notes that about 56% of brand owners don't switch their agencies due to honesty and transparency whereas 44% are transactional.

He emphasized the evolving landscape of marketing, with the emergence of AI and other technologies in advertising. 

"The ecosystems are changing, it's going from marketing communications to marketing communications and technology," said Vishal Chinchankar.

In this context, when brands set goals at the start of the year, there needs to be an alignment with agencies handling the business to achieve them. Chinchankar asked Hingorani what the client’s expectations were.

Client expectations

Girish Hingorani compared the agency-client relationship to a marriage stating the fundamentals are similar between human emotions and this professional relationship. 

"It's all about relationships. Despite the landscape changing. Primary fundamental in an agency-client relationship will be open communication and mutual respect," commented Girish Hingorani.

He believed that if clients think they are superior to the agency involved, it's not going to work. What brands need to do is involve agencies in their goals. 

“Engaging the agency is not just about doing a job, it's about putting passion into it,” Hingorani continued. 

He further highlighted that no brand gets into a business relationship thinking short-term. What brands think about is building a relationship alike a marriage.

Talking about involving agencies in the business, Hingorani said, “When we build a business relationship, we believe you (agencies) are an expert in the area and the agencies need to be given that trust. Make them part of your team.”

Who's a dream client?

Vishal Chinchankar gave a look into what agencies want in a partnership to make for a fruitful business endeavour. 

"Agency thrives when the client thrives. A client who is ambitious and which is willing to trust the agency is a dream client," Chinchankar elaborates. 

He emphasized on the significance of mutual trust and investment in building enduring partnerships considering the ecosystems are changing at the client as well as on the agency end.

"In this journey of advertising, a great client is one who values his agency as a trusted advisor," he continues. 

Chinchankar emphasized that in Madison’s case, the agency’s focus isn’t on the numbers. The balance sheet isn’t the answer, Madison doesn’t look at the high spenders or low spenders. Instead, the focus in on trust. 

“The more you invest, the more clients trust you and this helps with being a trusted advisor. A lot of clients shift to other agencies, but if you invest in the client’s trust, they approach you.”

Client delight meets Agency delight

In the agency world, there’s a term called client delight, which focuses on exceeding a client’s expectations to drive positive outcomes. When asked if the brand side has a term alike it focusing on ‘agency delight’, Hingorani emphasized the need for reciprocal feedback and communication between agencies and clients. 

He highlighted the importance of understanding clients' business objectives and market differentiators, urging agencies to prioritize business conversations over digital metrics.

Further, he said, "There are very few clients that think about the agency delight. We are partners and equal and therefore, we need to take feedback from each other."

Business conversations can happen when the conversation itself is open and transparent between the agencies and brands. 

“The reality is the lines are blurred, therefore, business objectives will be achieved if the agencies can understand the client's goals.”

Moreover, Hingorani believed that agencies should express their opinions on an idea, no matter the client’s reaction. 

"We love our agencies to tell us when we are in the wrong,” Girish Hingorani mentioned.

He also shared a real-time example of collaboration between Blue Star and Madison during a campaign for Big Billion Days, emphasizing the importance of agility and responsiveness in achieving shared objectives.

“Ultimately, it's about building a culture. Don’t get too worked up by data look at the bigger picture. Try to understand the client's needs and their businesses better.”

In summary, the ideal agency-client relationship in advertising is characterized by open communication, transparency, collaboration, respect, flexibility, and a long-term perspective. By embracing these principles, agencies and clients can forge strong partnerships that drive creativity, innovation, and results in the ever-evolving landscape of advertising.

We'd like to thank all our partners for supporting this endeavour: 

  • Checkout Partner - Simpl
  • Live Streaming Partner - 24Frames
  • Beverage Partner - Sonnets by Tata Coffee  
  • Beauty Partner - Just Herbs 
  • Entertainment Partner - Times Prime 
AgencyCon Vishal Chinchankar Madison Digital Social Samosa AgencyCon Agency-Brand Relationships Madison Alpha Girish Hingorani Blue Star Limited Client delight Client expectations Agency expectations