As marketing becomes more complex and brands outsource an increasing amount of campaign work to agencies, it’s vital that processes are managed correctly.

By doing so approval deadlines will be met, final versions can be identified and content is correctly managed and reviewed. To ensure that they are organized and focused on their goals, marketers need to have the right systems in place to support them. Much of the collaboration that goes on within the brand-agency relationship comes down to the systems being used.

Without the correct systems supporting the agency and brand teams, people can’t work together effectively. Time is wasted replicating work that already exists or travelling to unnecessary meetings, confusion arises over what documents have been approved and projects overrun. These issues lead to less productivity and low morale, which in turn can lead to lost business. Having an efficient system to make processes simple and effective is imperative to building a strong brand-agency relationship.

“Approximately 90 percent of the results produced in the workplace are a function of the systems, not the people who work in those systems.” – David Dibble, Author.

So how can collaboration tools help?

On a day-to-day basis we are working with and creating a wealth of content. Many problems arise from this, such as how can we ensure that the necessary people can securely access this content from wherever they are, regardless of the device they’re on or the time zone they’re in. This is where a collaboration tool comes into play – a cloud content collaboration tool to be specific – that allows you to securely store, share and search for content in one secure online environment.

The following 4 S’s are of huge importance to businesses:

1.       Security


Ensure that your data is secure. Whether it is simply being stored or shared with others, it’s important that it’s only consumed by those who are supposed to. This is why having a tool with a high level of application, network and infrastructure security is vital. As well as granular permissions, audit trails and version controls, you need to consider whether your data is encrypted in transit, what security measures are in place at the data centers your information is stored in and what certifications the supplier has.

Of course, security is important when it comes to all aspects of information sharing cloud platforms. We’ve all seen stories in the press about USB sticks and laptops, containing sensitive data, being left on trains. To keep your data safe, it’s likely that a cloud supplier has far more security measures in place than you will. After all, data is their business.

2.       Storage

Having all your content in one place allows you to remove the problem of siloed content. Information is often fragmented and lost on a myriad of USB sticks, shared drives, consumer file sharing apps and desktops. Should someone be off sick or on annual leave, content stored on personal tools or devices can’t be accessed by anyone and sometimes even the owner of information may forget where relevant content is stored. Ensuring that your content can be accessed in one central place – whether in the office, at home or on the go – saves time and effort spent having to redo work or establishing how to get hold of documents.

3.       Sharing 

In many cases, files are there to be shared, whether they are reports for the creative director, designs for a client or copy for your latest campaign. These files need to be easily shared with others so that they can review and act on them. Simple features like being able to add notes or comments to specific files will increase the chance of action being taken. Permissions also allow you to ensure that only certain individuals, teams or authority levels get to see a file. Having a tool which allows you to create permission groups, gives you the confidence that a file will only be accessed by those you want to have access to it.

One of the biggest problems associated with the sharing of files is the fact that any edits or comments can get lost in email chains or multiple versions of the same file exist with different edits and feedback. This can cause a lot of hassle when trying to bring all changes together into one file.  This is where versioning capabilities come into play. Being able to keep track of the most recent version and go back and review old ones is a HUGE timesaver.

4.       Search

It’s all well and good having a central place to store your content, but if it can’t be found it becomes redundant. That’s why a workspace structure and intelligent recommendation technology place Huddle above the other collaboration tools and services available. Not only is it easy to find the content you’re looking for, but the files most relevant to you are synced to your desktop and mobile devices.

In Huddle, there are individual workspaces for teams, projects or clients. The familiar folder structure enables content to be securely stored without clients being able to see each others’ files and documents can be easily and securely shared between members of a project or team.

Three good questions

When looking at how to improve the results in your workplace ask yourself:

  1. Is there a system in place that has been agreed upon and documented for performing the task?
  2. Is there a system in place that the team know how to use, but they are avoiding it?
  3. Is there a system in place that employees either aren’t aware of or don’t know how to use?

If your answer to the first question is “no”, you have a systems problem. You need to have a platform in place, such as Huddle, which has been agreed upon and communicated to the whole team.

If your answer to question two is “yes”, then you have a management problem. This is where training and leadership is needed to ensure that people aren’t reverting back to default ways of working, wasting everyone’s time and effort.

If your answer to question three is “yes”, you have a training problem. Either there hasn’t been any training, the way the training has been carried out was ineffective or the support system in place to deal with issues simply doesn’t work.

Keys to success from the Brand-Agency relationship

So what is the currency in the brand-agency relationship?

From a brand perspective it is:

  • Insight – Having a deep knowledge of the organization and product or service. Being able to communicate this to the agency and constantly keeping them updated, helping them understand the product like you do.
  • Brand values – What is it that matters for the brand, what is the key focus that moves the brand forward, and is it being consistent?
  • Walk the talk – Backing up what you are saying, so it’s not just marketing talk. Whether it’s a new feature or company direction, communicate it transparently with the agency and maintain the trust

The above outlines the currency that the brand collaboration is bringing the agency, but what about from the agency perspective?

  • Timeliness – Brands hire agencies to execute campaigns, but also support them.  Brands need to know if the agency has any questions or issues, what deadlines need to be met and whether or not the agency can meet these
  • Action – Take responsibility for knowing what needs to done and prioritizing work
  • Sales – The bottom line, is the work being done moving the needle? Are they generating sales?

Brands and agencies need to work on these key points to ensure that they are getting the most out of the brand-agency relationship.

We recently sponsored a webinar called “Collaborate or Die! How to Get the Most from the Brand-Agency Relationship.” This is the first in a series of webinars focused on marketing, with great speakers who can provide you with insight into how they get the most out of their marketing efforts. We started off with how you can get the most out of the brand-agency relationship.

The webinar, hosted by the American Marketing Association (AMA), features guest speakers James Clark, co-founder of Room214, and Tyler Starrine, VP Campaign Development of DEI.

The webinar discusses the best and worst practices when it comes to project marketing, and communications that can help you build an effective brand-agency relationship.

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