How to tell if an agency really does work collaboratively?

BM Collaborative Blog Post

Collaboration. It often sounds like a bit of a buzz word when it comes to the creative industries. After all, it simply means working with someone to get something done. And without that, a design and branding job wouldn’t even get off the ground, would it?

So, what do we really mean when we say we work collaboratively? What should you look for when choosing a collaborative design partner for your business?

They really put the effort into getting to know you

Learning everything there is to know about your business is fundamental to any agency wanting to get the best out of your brief. But it shouldn’t stop there.

If you’re anything like us, your business is all about your people, so it’s important your brand reflects that. That’s why a truly collaborative agency will want to get to know you on a personal level too, to find out what gets you fired up and to understand your view of the world.

That better relationship will ultimately lead to a deeper grasp of the brief, a stonkingly good outcome and, importantly, a more enjoyable creative process for everyone involved.

You know, 100%, that you can trust them

We hate to use the words honest and open – that’s why we didn’t! But there’s a reason they’re included in almost every set of brand guidelines you’ll ever come across. Because honesty and openness are THAT important, particularly when you’re in the business of providing a service.

A truly collaborative agency will not be afraid to tell you the truth about what you’re asking for. Yes, that might mean, for example, lowering the spec of the job to meet your budget, but isn’t that better than promising the earth to secure the project and then not being able to deliver?

Plus, there’s nothing worse than playing the blame game. Everyone makes mistakes occasionally; collaborative working means keeping the lines of communication open in order to resolve things, move on and never hold a grudge.

A bit of feedback doesn’t have them getting all… ‘precious’

Who are we kidding, we’re creatives, getting precious about our work is part of the job spec! But it’s only because we put blood, sweat and tears into everything we do, and care so deeply about the result.

So what happens when things don’t come together quite as they should; perhaps you’re not as bowled over as we’d like you to be? Does it have to involve tricky conversations and muttered expletives? Absolutely not!

Revisions and iterations are an important part of the collaborative process. They’re how you get that cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake. So, find a design team you know will really listen, understand and evaluate what you’re saying – while not being afraid to offer some of that honesty and openness from point two.

At the end of the day, you know your business best, and your agency must take that on board if they’re going to create the kind out-of-this world work that gets everybody leaping around the office high-fiving one another* come presentation day.

*ahhh…those were the [pre-COVID] days!

With them it’s all about the long game

For a creative agency, there’s nothing better than being welcomed in, given a seat at the table and being made to feel like one of the team. Trusted with the brands assets and allowed input into creative decisions across the board.

Any collaborative creative agency worth their salt will want to build relationships with their clients for the longer term. Because there’s nothing better than to be involved from the start and trusted to play a part in the growth and success of a business when you’re invested in the result. It’s what makes it exciting!

So if you feel your agency is treating you like they just want to get the job done and the invoice in, perhaps it’s time to opt for a different approach.

At BM Inc, when we talk of working collaboratively, we mean we do these things, whether we’re working with our own clients or as a white label team supporting other agencies.

We’ll also happily collaborate with any existing suppliers you may still want to use. Perhaps you have a trusted developer you want to build your website? Or maybe you have a preferred printer who you’ve worked alongside for years? No problem! We’re not in the business of treading on toes, we love meeting and networking with new blood, it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

And the proof is in the pudding as they say. We firmly believe that it’s this partnership approach that has allowed us to foster such long-standing relationships with so many of our clients. And THAT makes us very happy!

Sound like your kind of collaboration? Get in touch for a chat with Big Mike, on 07899 090675.


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