How to work with multiple agencies

I don’t know about you but there’s always part of me that groans when we win a multi-agency account. Yet they’re a reality of life and with some simple planning and good manners don’t need to be painful for you or your client.

My philosophy in life and in business is always treat people how you would like to be treated. That means even though I’ll sometimes have to deal with ‘difficult’ people at partner agencies, I am always honest, fair and transparent in my communications.

So, for a productive, pain free collaboration leave your ego at the door and consider the following:

1. Ask your client to set clear roles and responsibilities for each agency at the start of the project. This avoids jockeying for budgets and ‘land grabbing’. (This isn’t exclusive to suits; ensure creative boundaries are set too).

2. Appoint a senior lead from each agency that is accountable to the multi-agency team and the client's success.

3. Agree ‘ways of working’ e.g. reporting, timelines, communications & other process management tools. Decide which digital tools you are going to use; e.g. Google Hangouts, Basecamp etc. Review your processes regularly to make sure they work for everyone.

4. To avoid communication problems (how many of us have taken an email the wrong way?) pick up the phone. Create relationships with your counterparts at the partner agencies. It’s the best way to build trust and respect. Better still, meet face to face, have a coffee and get to know each other. (You never know you might end up working in the same agency one day!)

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