What's the glue to make clients stick to an agency

What's the glue to make clients stick to an agency

Minhas talks about outcomes, sustainable outcomes and mutually rewarding outcomes.

Raman R.S. Minhas

VUCA. Millennials. Gen Z. BANI. Digital. Traditional. Phygital. AI-ML. In the jargon-full world of marketing that we live in, clients seek more answers than ever before. It’s just not easy to navigate businesses and brands in these highly complex and connected times. So, I tried putting myself in the shoes of the ‘client’ to go about this.


Yes, I’d like an agency that talks the end result with me – the business outcome. For me not to think of them as an easily replaceable vendor, they need to understand what makes my business tick. And live it. Not in powerpoints, in reality.

My agency got to put their skin in the game. More than the skills and the means, they need to have this mindset that looks beyond a campaign or a launch or a content series. How is every single rupee that my brand is spending, is getting invested back into it. That’s what I’m looking for my agency to be thinking – both creatively and operationally.

And we are talking agreed outcomes here, that are measurable. If that’s the currency my agency has got, chances are, I am not going anywhere else.

Sustainable outcomes

It’s not about cracking something once, or twice, and then putting it aside. Outcomes are only as good as how long their impact lasts. When the agency is linked deeply with my business, they can’t take their foot off the pedal, just as my business can’t.

Now that takes something. It won’t come by asking or waiting for a brief. It will come by investing in my business, by acting like my extended team, and by continuously playing the role of a partner. Again, not as lip service, in reality. Actively tell me, guide me, challenge me in decisions of consumer segmenting, media spends, creative strategies, tech interventions, digital efficiencies, resource optimisation and the like.

For my business to grow, they need to play a part in every critical discussion that touches my business. As that will directly impact the outcome. So, the longer my agency keeps achieving the outcomes, the longer I stay with them. It’s that simple.

Mutually rewarding outcomes

One-sided relationships rarely last. So, if the agency is joined with my business at the hip, it has to work for both. And it should work both ways. Such that the commercial model mirrors my business performance, as long as it’s based on agreed outcomes. It can’t be just about getting their retainers, but adding value in the real sense. So I can truly see them as partners.

Which brings ‘chemistry’ into the equation. Mostly, I see people talk output. It’s transactional. It’s short-sighted. An idea, a campaign, a media deal, an influencer package... these are all means to an end, not the end by themselves. There needs to be this DNA match with my agency people.

If the people at my agency are someone I can relate to, exchange thoughts and ideas openly with, and know are operating with an ‘us’ mindset instead of selling their services, why would I want to talk to anyone else!

The article has been authored by IdeateLab chief creative officer Raman R.S. Minhas.