New trends in communications and technology, new circumstances on the market, budget cuts, the most frequently uttered word in the last 5 or more years = recession, Croatia joining the EU…all of these are the circumstances which significantly affected and changed the dynamics, as well as the nature of relationship between clients and the agencies. Abrakadabra has in its portfolio of clients different companies – from local to global ones (10 clients from the list of 100 most valuable global brands according to bestglobalbrands.com) and is highly exposed to both local and global changes and new circumstances on the market.
In addition to the pervasive crisis and recession, most changes we have experienced after joining the European Union where, with more than 4 million people living in Croatia and the low purchase power, we belong to the markets with low potential and, accordingly, large global companies have adapted their access to our market. Some clients have even withdrawn from the market, others have diminished their communication budgets (but haven’t cut down on their expectations and targets), some of them have reduced their local teams and now we no longer have a local person in Croatia that is focused on our market and we are working with clients who are sitting in Warsaw, Prague or London, and coordinate 5 or more countries of which Croatia is generally the smallest and, in line with this, focus on our market is much lower in comparison to other markets… In order to adapt to these new circumstances and continue providing communication services that achieve or help achieving the business targets of the clients, agencies have installed various changes in the composition of teams, services, processes and business models.
The following are highlights of some of the most important segments for the successful functioning of agencies and clients in the new circumstances.
Trust is built and strengthened with each successful but also transparent campaign, with fair and professional attitude on both sides. Mutual trust is particularly important in the circumstances when clients have no the luxury of time and resources to communicate daily with agencies and introduce themselves with every detail of the campaign. Agencies should act as clients’ branches in the local market, but clients should give confidence and certain autonomy in making decisions to take advantage of local expertise and the full potential of agency experts. A healthy relationship that is based on trust allows the inclusion of agencies in all the segments of the clients’ business, from the stage of strategic planning to the implementation, setting goals and implementing communication plans.
Focus on the essential
This applies to all segments of the business, from mutual communication and rapid decision-making on both sides, to the election of the most effective tools for achieving the agreed goals. It is necessary to make quick decisions focused on problems solving and also communicate them plainly to maximize efficiency and minimize the waste of resources. Less is more – this is a winning mantra in today’s hectic business environment.
Proactivity is exceptionally important in managing campaigns but also in communication with the client in order to choose the right tool for a certain type of campaign, to react in a timely manner, focus on the essential and achieve the desired results. Proactive agencies do not ‘do’ the job but act as advisers and extended arms of the client, taking care of client’s interests at all times, adapting to the client and facilitate its daily life. Also, proactive agencies continuously time the market and adapt their business and services to the latest trends.
Breaking out of the comfort zone
The changes are constant and they have never been faster, and those agencies and clients who are sufficiently flexible and adapt quickly to these changes have a much better chance to take the advantages of new circumstances and trends in business and communications. Of course, the agencies are in this regard the side which provides the service, and they are primarily expected to adjust their processes, communication, services … and to question the way of doing business with the best possible effect on reaching business objectives. On the other hand, clients also need to be prepared for the adjustment of their own processes and the established ways of doing business in order to grab new opportunities on the market out of the comfort zone.
Partner relationship means a win-win situation for both agency and the client. Healthy partnership means that the client understands that the agency’s goal is to achieve positive results for their business, but also achieving business goals of the agency. To achieve such a relationship it is important that the client and the agency communicate transparently and understand each others business models and objectives.
In any case, fast changes are trendy and it is important to re-examine established processes, rules of functioning, defining campaign targets, briefings, reports, giving feedback … and everything that makes the relationship between the agency and the client so the results of communication activities could have even better contribution in achieving common business objectives.
What trends in agency business have you already observed or used?