The advertising industry (traditional, digital, social, media) talks constantly about transformation and change. Usually that implies new skill sets, teams, processes and briefs. But Daniel Stein, CEO and founder of EVB, a small, but influential agency in San Francisco starts somewhere else, declaring that nothing determines an agency’s brand, not to mention its opportunities to create great work, as much as its clients.
While plenty of agencies will foam at the mouth over almost any opportunity to pitch a new piece of business, Daniel goes so far as to suggest that agencies should issue RFP’s to prospective clients and be even more selective about whom they’re willing to work for than typical clients are about choosing partners.
According to this CEO, clients are only worth having if they’re a source of learning and inspiration. Stein is lucky enough to have such clients, doing work for Facebook, Skittles and Nike, among others. He suggests the following guidelines.
- Choose clients that want innovative work
- Make sure you both have a shared vision of success
- Ask whether you can learn something from them, not simply vice versa
- Insist on working only with partners who’ll be a source of inspiration
- Assess whether they work as hard as you do
- Assure that you can make money
Finally, ask the ultimate question: “Will your new partner inhibit or enhance your brand?”
It’s often tough in an incredibly competitive industry and a still-soft economy to say no to any new source of revenue. But if the objective is long term growth, relevance in the digital age, and the pursuit of that over used T word, you might want to bite the bullet and heed Mr. Stein’s advice.
Who will be your next client?