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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  The client is killing us with mediocrity — how do we get off of the account?

The client is killing us with mediocrity — how do we get off of the account?

Dear Jancy,
So, we work at a medium sized, decent agency. Great people. Okay clients. Been working on one particular client for almost a year now. In that time, some things have worried me to the point we feel like asking to be off of the account. Blatant disrespect, rewriting our ideas, not understanding things a CMO should know (Pinterest, Twitter) and just erratic client behavior overall. Just spent a month away from home and family on production for a series of spots that went from great to mediocre. Our CD promised us these spots are a stepping stone to even better work. With these mediocre spots now in the hopper, we’ve set a deadly precedent that will dictate forward working going forward – more mediocre work. It has been hinted to us by our account team. Work that we’re not proud of and work that will not go into our books (and more months away producing it). Our account team acts like they have their hands tied behind their backs. Our CD acknowledges the dysfunction but promises things will change. Fear is a tactic that is used quite often.
How do you ask to be off an account especially if you feel you’re spinning your wheels? I’m afraid that asking will insinuate that we don’t want to be working here at all. We love where we are, just my partner and I cannot quite ‘get it’ with this one account. We don’t want to whine. But we’re so frustrated and battle torn that mediocre work and this interaction with the client is killing us slowly day-by-day.
Battle Torn CW and AD

intro The client is killing us with mediocrity — how do we get off of the account?Much of the time, creative teams feel they are victims to circumstances they have no power to change. They sit back and hope somehow everyone will do their jobs and the course will be corrected. What we invite you to contemplate is stepping up and owning the outcome of your project. That means looking at it holistically. What is the root of the problem with your clients? Part would be a lack of understanding of social media, and more. You are in an ideal position to invite them to get educated. And you provide that, not someone else that’s not going to do it. You’d be amazed how pleased and even flattered even the most difficult clients can be when their creative team directs its attention to them. Make it your business to get to know these people. Learn as much as you can about their individual challenges, the bigger picture. Start to look like people who can help them do their best and you will soon be trusted and liked. And that translated directly to selling bigger ideas. You do not need “permission” from an account team to pick up the phone and invite a client to coffee. And your bigger team may be happy when you put effort into educating. Whether that’s a lunch and learn series or other, it’s a smart idea and it’s amazing how many miss the obvious route to making ignorant people not ignorant. Try it. There is no down side, and so much to be gained. Including your personal success.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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