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Keeping the Spark Alive

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INFLUENCER: Havas Formula's Mia West on applying Chapman’s ‘5 Languages of Love’ to the client/agency relationship

Keeping the Spark Alive

We are all looking for 'The One'. We put ourselves out there, ask friends to introduce us to someone they think we will be compatible with, internet stalk, set up a face-to-face meeting; then the wooing and romance begins. Next thing you know, there is an over-the-top proposal promising a bright, long future together. While this is indicative of how most modern day romances go, I’m actually talking about the client/agency relationship. And much like romantic relationships, the honeymoon ends; the relationship becomes stale; a younger, more attractive partner catches your eye; you begin envying someone else’s relationship; and divorce becomes eminent. So how do you keep the spark alive?

Everyone knows relationships take work. And if you’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship, you’ve likely heard of author and renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman and his “5 Languages of Love” theory. Chapman believes there are five universal ways we express and interpret love. While in reality most lean towards a particular “language” or two, I firmly believe that using all of them is a simple way to improve client/agency relationships.  Here’s how to apply them:

1. Quality Time: Once you feel like you know your partner, it’s easy to stop spending as much time together. In fact, many “couples” stop talking altogether. However, devoting quality time to your clients is not only important for developing rapport and trust, it is essential to the creative process and building sound strategies. Plus, when we neglect this, it is far too easy to start making uneducated decisions on each other’s behalf, assuming what the other needs, and tuning out or ignoring sound advice – just like it plays out in every other type of relationship.

2. Words of Affirmation: Both having and demonstrating mutual respect and appreciation for what each other brings to the relationship is incredibly important. This fosters productive collaboration and ideation, as well as creates an environment in which individuals know their voice will be heard; a circle of trust, if you will. This facilitates a successful relationship because people have the courage to act on their ideas.

3. Acts of Service: As an agency, we immerse ourselves in the brands we work with each and every day, feeling excitement over every win and losing sleep when things fall flat because we are so personally invested. The funny thing is our clients most likely don’t realise just how much we care. Small acts go a long way in expressing to a client that you feel ownership in their brand. From sending a relevant idea on a weekend or calling the client just to chat or brainstorm, these actions all prove that your commitment is more than just words.

4. Physical Touch: Before making a recommendation to a client, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and evaluate the financial implications it will have on their business. Marketers have their feet held to the fire to ensure they meet specific financial goals every moment of every day. We need to understand their pain and find ways to truly touch their business through programs that translate into sales and growth.

5. Gifts: It should go without saying that “thank you” goes a long way. It is a small gift that keeps on giving because showing appreciation for someone’s ability is an incredible motivator. We all want to do right by people who are kind and recognise the good work that each does.

When it boils down to it, no matter what the nature, we behave similarly in all of our relationships and have the same types of needs, just in a different context. It really does take two to tango, so stick to the basics: communicate, follow through, enjoy time with each other, leverage one another’s gifts, and let your partner know through your actions that you love being in the relationship with them. Because really, who doesn’t want to feel loved?



Mia West is VP, Publicity at Havas Formula

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Genres: People

Havas US, Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:42:29 GMT