COVID LEARNINGS #3: how we’re working with our clients
1. Jorge Sanchez, Agencia Kids, Spain
As you know, in Spain, the situation has been very complicated over the last three weeks. Clients were quite shocked and everything stopped.
At the agency, we were a bit afraid, however, we quickly decided to change our attitude if we wanted our clients to do the same.
What we decided to do with our clients?
- First of all, we empathized with their situation and stayed close to them. We, the owners, speak with clients at least twice a week, not much about business, more about their families and the problems they are facing. We feel closer to them than ever. Their moods are constantly changing. So our relationship has to be much stronger. The first days of COVID19 we offered to create simple things to manage the situation, some of them for free. We had to show them that now we are in the same team. Much more than ever.
- Secondly, we are showing everyone in our social media channels and communications a very active and positive attitude. Not talking much about the problems, and talking much more about the good things that we are doing and can do for them. We quickly created a tik tok challenge to encourage young people to wash their hands and prevent coronavirus. And worked quite well generating PR. We are showing them how other brands are still communicating and adapting their message to the new situation.
- Now we are encouraging them to see that it is more important than ever to create content in a short term and it should be very adapted to the mood of the moment. So we are being much faster making proposals than ever, simple things that can be created in a few days. Of course we have seen that in the next few months everything is going to be digital and we have to show our abilities in that area.
- With the campaigns that have been suspended until the alarm state passes we are creating different scenarios, based on what can happen and when, which forces us to work twice as hard, but reassures the client.
2. Marc van Bakel, Campagne, The Netherlands
We know one thing for sure: we will survive this crisis. And then we have to be ready to start business again.That means: working NOW on plans, as if the re-start has already begun. Otherwise, you’re behind.
And that means: keep in close contact with – clients and helping them. As marketing and communication professionals, we offer unique skills which can actually help promote businesses and services. By doing things a customer cannot initiate: we still are creatives and strategists. Let’s combine each other’s strengths.
3. Phil Huzzard, DPR&Co, Australia
We are offering clients proactive ideas to help them be in a better position to succeed when this is all over. For us it’s about understanding the impact of CV19 on our clients’ businesses and finding ways to assist them.
We are pitching ideas proactively. We’re also helping some clients to pivot to new channels, business verticals or marketing strategies. Clients are finding that having an external view on their business is helpful.
We’re also taking the time to work on ourselves. We’re looking at how we frame our value and adding weight to our strategic and planning offering.
4. Rex Huffman, CVR, USA
One of the main challenges we now face is revisiting all of our content and reworking the messaging to fit the current climate. Articulating the need to reassess and change directions is very important in successfully convincing clients to pivot their strategy rather than stop all communications. Navigating change is certainly difficult when there are so many unknowns. To put the client at ease about pivoting you must come to them with a plan, be confident, and provide resources/help that will make the transition smooth. Providing a strategy and putting help in place gives your client peace of mind that you are managing the situation and have it under control, even in the unknown.
5. Caroline Cox, CVR, USA
Personally, I think one of the biggest ways to work with your clients right now is to be empathetic. In a normal client-agency relationship, the business problems that the client faces are different than an agency faces because the client is from a different industry. Clients and agencies can now relate to each other more than ever because we are sharing similar problems, such as how to meet payroll, cut expenses, avoid layoffs, meet demand when the supply has changed, face challenges they’ve never faced before, etc. Working together right now is taking things one step at a time and being ok with not knowing all the answers. With the news, CDC guidelines, government’s response, etc changing week to week or even day to day, we can’t predict what’s going to happen so we shouldn’t try to solve all our client’s problems right now because things will change. Being empathetic to our clients due to this shared experience will make the relationship stronger in the long run.