cultivating relationships
Bookmark and Share

PHASE I: Diagnostic Assessment A 360-degree, confidential evaluation of what is and isn't working in the relationship. Weeks 1–2

begins by listening—first to the client and then the agency. What are we listening for? Common ground and major differences in how the two groups work together. Does the client clearly articulate brand goals? What is the annual planning process like? Is there openness to agency input? What is a good example of a well-executed project?

This 360-degree view identifies primary areas of frustration and waste. With this knowledge, it becomes clear how the client and agency can improve efficiency, quality of work and their overall relationship. At the end of this phase, provides an action plan that is shared with the client and then the agency.
[ next phase ]

PHASE II: Scope of Work Evaluation A comparison between agency work that was performed over the past year and the originally proposed Scope of Work. Weeks 3–4

"The work, the work, the work," is a famous rallying cry of one prominent global agency. At we could not agree more, though we have a slightly different take.

Defining, monitoring and clearly articulating SOW is everything. Clients who do not take the time to clearly identify what their selected agency must to do to meet their brand's objectives are both wasting valuable resources (and driving up costs) and ultimately hurting their relationships with their agencies. Good clients spend time outlining their needs and debating with their agency about what is needed in a SOW plan.

A good SOW is not a simple project list. It's an assessment of what work is and isn't needed, how complex each assignment is, how many creative rounds are necessary and how much rework is expected.

has the experience, systems and forms to help any team create and maintain a good SOW.

During this phase we evaluate the current SOW process, uncover more inefficiency and waste and help the client and agency team determine future SOWs. Everything revolves around the work that's needed for the client and agency to meet its goals.
[ next phase ]

PHASE III: Compensation Calculation A new agency compensation model is recommended based on the results of the Scope of Work process and improved
efficiency practices. Weeks 5–6

With an agreed-upon SOW outlined by both the client and the agency, develops a new compensation model for its clients.

All members of the have many, many years of experience developing and costing out practically every type of assignment. But, just as important, we know how factors like complexity, number of creative rounds and amount of rework affect these costs. Then, we meet with the client’s agency to discuss overhead rates and the level of account management and planning participation needed to complete the SOW. After we confirm the agency’s costs as reasonable, we create a customized zero-profit rate card that shows the direct creative and production costs associated with every assignment in the client's SOW.

Empowered by this financial knowledge, clients and agencies can better manage their relationship and operations. The agency now knows how to allocate resources and what they will be paid to complete each specific assignment. Clients, on the other hand, know the costs for each assignment. Therefore, should marketplace conditions change, clients are in the position to cut or add assignments and fully understand how doing so will affect their total annual fee.

Additionally, helps the client determine a fair and transparent incentive plan that will reward the agency with a meaningful profit. The level of profit is determined by the agency's success. If goals are not met, the agency receives zero profit. This zero-based profit plan is founded on measurable metrics and relevant brand objectives as defined during the SOW evaluation. To help the client pinpoint appropriate goals, we look at past performance, spending levels and industry-specific data. It is our belief that this scrutiny is necessary to motivate agencies and ensure that clients are getting the best strategic, creative and marketing resources for their business.
[ next phase ]

PHASE IV: Maintenance & Compensation Clients and agencies need systems and tracking forms. Weeks 6–8

Diagnostic assessment and action plans are great, but clients and agencies need systems, tracking forms and training if they are to improve the quality and efficiency of their relationships in the long term.

At we provide clients and their agencies with a simple way of making sure what was promised is in fact delivered. This monitoring system is managed by the agency and reviewed with the client each month.