Breaking up isn't easy...or is it?

Posted on 19/02/2018

We've been reflecting on the end of a client relationship; always an unhappy thing to happen, or is it?

We rebranded the client in question 5 years ago and since then have worked with them to reposition the business and support their significant business growth, to the point that last autumn, they were acquired.

Acquisition is always going to be a challenging moment for an agency/client relationship; acquisition involves re-structuring, people move on, connections are lost, and ways of working may be different.

The challenge is as much on the agency as it is the client to see if there is a way to keep working together. It may well be that the relationship has just come to a natural end through no fault of agency or client.

There are a few principles to bear in mind when things are coming to an end or have ended;

1/ If you do get to the stage you need to split, do it on good terms. No one wins on a messy break up.

2/ Ensure you have clear commercial relationship that anticipates the day you will separate. What’s the severance or notice period? Call it a commercial pre-nup.

3/ Accept that a commercial relationship will end at some point. That’s just realism. But work your hardest to maintain a client, keep the work inspiring, the levels of service and engagement fresh, make sure you are better this year than last year, better than the competition, and ensure client understands they are receiving a good ROI.

4/ Ensure your pipeline is always primed and anticipates the loss of a core client.

5/ Spread the risk, make sure you aren’t reliant on one big client.

6/ Churn of clients is the lifeblood of a creative agency. The revolving door of old and new clients and the stimulus and new briefs is something we live with and thrive on.

and finally,

6/ Be grateful. Gratitude is a much healthier state of mind than anger and frustration.

Thanks to our client who recently decided to move on. You know who you are.