Don't become the client from hell.

Over more than two decades involved in some form of client service – first as a corporate marketing staffer and later as the leader of my own brand strategy firm – telling stories of clients from hell has become one of my not-so-secret guilty pleasures.  While I enjoy adult beverage-fueled fireside chats detailing unreasonable requests like “Can you make this PowerPoint slide just 10% sexier?” and “Can you please find an ethnically ambiguous moderator for these focus groups?”, I can honestly say that most of the people I work with on a day-to-day basis are model clients. I’ve learned that the most profitable and trusting relationships I have with clients have a couple things in common.  I’ve documented these things (conveniently, there are 10 of them) and put them into the short list below.

Ten tips for being a beloved agency client:

  1. Be concerned with impact – not your own greatness
  2. Be a generous partner – make quick and thoughtful decisions, be clear about your expectations, respect the entire team
  3. Give and RECEIVE feedback
  4. Say “thank you” now and then
  5. Connect and collaborate with your agency team – we’re not just order takers
  6. Involve us in your business, not just your marketing
  7. Step outside your comfort zone
  8. Be available
  9. Don’t delegate important decisions to the agency
  10. Have a great sense of humor

Yes, of course, if you’re a current agency client, it’s likely you follow these rules.  And I promise not to tell anyone which one of you asked us to create a logo that looks “modern vintage.”