Client / Agency Relations

A workshop for clients and agencies on nurturing and strategically managing supplier relationships

Agencies Heart Clients

Session duration: Half day
Group size: 6-12 delegates
Structure: Presentations, interactive workshop exercises, group discussion
Support: post session coaching via phone, e-mail or Skype

Generate better creative that deliver results.

For clients: understand how agencies work, what motivates them and how to consistently get the best creative work out of them.

For agencies: understand the client role and pressures, how to build their trust and deliver more effective creative that justifies higher billing.

The Problem

It’s all too easy for client-agency relationships to become adversarial, with clients focusing on keeping costs down, account handlers trying to push costs up, and busy creative departments cutting corners.

And yet, we all really want the same thing. The glory of producing an innovative, highly effective creative campaign that delivers results and wins awards. Easy really!

The Solution

As with all relationships, a healthy client-agency relationship requires trust.

Without trust:

  • Clients will challenge every quote and be resistant to new creative ideas;
  • Agencies will produce sub-standard creative and miss deadlines.
  • Creatives will draw mean pictures of their clients, pin them up and throw darts at them.

With trust:

  • Clients don’t quibble over quotes and are enthusiastic about testing new creative approaches;
  • Agencies deliver innovative creative that meets the brief and fits within the budget.
  • There will be plenty of long boozy lunches, and occasionally the client will even pick up the tab.

Building trust between agency and client can be as tricky as getting pandas to mate. But it is possible.  It requires transparency, understanding and a lot of bamboo.

We’ll cover

  • Strategic long-term management of client-agency relationships
  • Understanding roles, responsibility and pressures in client and agency environments
  • Building empathy between clients, account handlers and creatives
  • Enriching client-agency communication to generate better understanding of creative concepts and client comments
  • Delivering and receiving feedback on creative and on client amends
  • Budgeting, quoting and negotiating fair and sustainable client-agency outcomes


In this one-day workshop, clients and agency staff come together to develop a better understanding of each other’s needs and expectations, away from the day-to-day pressure of briefs and deadlines.

The workshop involves role-play and roll-reversal. Clients will pitch to agencies. Creatives will plan budgets while wearing ties. And suits will draw scamps. The session is challenging, fun and revealing. It tends to break down barriers quickly.


This workshop is open to anyone working client-side or agency-side in the marketing and advertising industry. It’s ideal for account execs and marketing execs as an introduction to the industry, but even “seasoned” marketing directors and client services directors can often benefit from a reminder of what makes the other side tick!


Graham explains:

“Having worked for years as a creative director in the marketing industry, I’ve seen the same patterns in client-agency relationships play out over and over again. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the most demanding clients that get their way, and it’s not the pushiest account handlers that generate the highest billings.

“Where there has been a high level of trust between client and agency, it’s always been thrilling to collaborate together to generate outstanding, award winning creative work. These have been the high-points of my career.

“And I believe with more trust and understanding, all accounts can be this way. That’s why I care so passionately about sharing these insights in this workshop.”


I work with Ignite Training to deliver all of my workshops. To find out more, visit the Client – Agency Relationships page on the Ignite website.