Bravery at Pace: how clients and agencies can work together to create brilliant work in lockdown

On the home front, there’ll be babies booming and divorces looming after lockdown. In client-agency relationships there’ll be some similar make or break outcomes. 

Brilliant partnerships will create new wonderful work. Others fracture as they can’t adapt to cope outside the normal agency/client dynamic; work won’t be brilliant and they won’t have bonded through the experience. 

We’ve all seen plenty of how to work from home guides. I was curious to find out what behaviour changes are going on with our clients and in our team during lockdown. So I asked colleagues to see how we’re all finding client work and creative pitch prep. Here are some thoughts from our team… 

We’re being faster and more daring – with each other and with the work
Stephanie Hubbard, Senior Content Consultant

“Clients need fast breakthroughs and results – without internal palaver or public backlash. Campaigns need to be ripped up and re-written to seize the moment. We need work for financial survival, morale, and to keep our creative team lively. There isn’t time for ambiguity, indecision, or politics.” 

“We’ve abandoned the normal ‘professionalism’ of preparing extremely polished presentations to reveal at a client’s office. We can’t faff about for a week with polish and politeness or we’ll miss the window; clients are happy to see the raw work and get moving.” 

“On the phone or video call we have a new kind of transparency, “Hey, what about this idea”, then we bounce the idea around with healthy blunt communications from the client to shape it, then get it out.” 

We’re enjoying the connection and compassion
Natalie Lawrence, Senior Content Consultant

“It’s more human – an adult to adult, team dynamic more than a client to agency relationship.” 

“In normal times, we spent a lot of time with our clients but there were still some formalities in the big corporate and small agency partner dynamic. Now, our houses and families are in the background via video conference, and “how are you” is asked because we actually care for each other’s families and their experience.” 

Our extroverts and introverts have both adapted to remote work life
Katie St Lawrence, Account Manager

“It’s taxing to manage extroverts and introverts being ‘on’ all the time in an office and working in sprints in a group dynamic is intense. I’m an extrovert and always thrive off being with other people so I was worried about not having other people to feed off. I thought I’d crave the intensity and stimulation of being in together in the office but it turns out you don’t have to be an introvert to be good at working at a distance.”

“It’s surprisingly valuable to have plenty of time apart to clarify my opinions without the noise of other people’s ideas too soon.”

“In the office I can feel guilty for staring into space – at home no one knows so I like having a good gaze then nailing ideas.”

Pitches are calmer, because they have to be
Kate Winter, New Business Director

“In the previous normal, the first day of pitching is spent together in a room to ponder and provoke a brief before we focus in. Energy has to be balanced and it’s tricky to find flow – as one person is on a roll, another needs a coffee, etc. It’s energising, intense and tiring to align many minds on one vision. It’s a liminal state of chaos, confusion and crunching; then the creative magic happens and everything comes together”. 

“The remote version is calm, focused, and has space for reflection, separately and together. We start by writing or drawing ideas so they’re in a format we can all see and work with. Then we talk through them in creative pairs – energetically but clearly as the process of having to articulate them in advance makes them better formed than just frothy verbal ideas. The process is surprisingly clear, calm, direct and focused”. 

Choosing our new reality

There’s a lot of chat about the new reality ahead. We’re going to shape ours to include all that we’ve enjoyed about these lockdown ways.

We hope you find our insights helpful. They are working for us as we’re creating brave, brilliant, fast work that’s driving much better performance than our equivalent pre-Covid campaigns. Twenty percent better impact and faster execution is worth having, in Covid and all times. Get in touch if you’d like more ideas like these or you’d like a partner to work with in a bold, fast and agile way.