Communication on the Rocks

At Developware, we live and work in close proximity to Bourbon country — Kentucky. Bourbon whiskey can be consumed in many different ways. It’s the featured ingredient in Mint Juleps, the official drink of a popular horserace which takes place just minutes from our offices; you’ve probably heard of it. I prefer to order my Bourbon “brown and big” like Mr. Draper. It’s better neat in cooler months and over ice (whiskey stones!) in spring and summer. Bourbon distilling is a fine art. The process includes, in layman’s terms, separating the “good stuff,” the essence of the ingredients, from the “waste.”

Much like our venerated local spirit, ad agencies have to distill their communications. The challenge is for Account Executives (AE), when meeting with clients, to capture all the details of a new project or campaign then review and focus it for internal communication. It’s imperative to accurately filter extraneous information, summarize the details of the project or campaign and pass clear details on to the creative team.

Most agencies I speak with are using a Creative Brief or a Client Contact Report to record this data. The exact form that these documents take is malleable and should be customized to suit your agency’s particular business. An AE should concentrate on summarizing, with precision, details about the project’s main message, target audience, talking points, budget, time constraints (let’s be exact here, not “ASAP”), and media type. The more detail the better. Opaque communication will lead to costly revisions, delayed deliverables and a strained client relationship. With so many challenges facing the modern agency, they simply don’t have the margins to cover inefficiency.

I implore you to examine the communications processes in your agency. How effective is it now? Do you have a process in place for capturing the details of client interactions? In CurrentTrack, we have a default Client Contact Report form which can be completed on-the-fly during a client meeting, on a laptop or iPad. Once completed, the form will be back at the office before the AE has even returned.
Whatever your methods, be sure to provide your team with the best information and be confident they’ll yield great results.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s have a bourbon, you’ve earned it.

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