Agencies work for marketers and every brand has its horizon of work. As the marketer or brand has the responsibility to develop a product, they lend emphasis on product development rather than on the creative visual communication needed for marketing or selling of the product.
That’s a full-time job done by ad agency professionals and it’s just not the core competence of the marketer. At the same time, it’s a critical part of the marketing exercise and so a lot depends on how well the brand marketer and the ad agency is able to sync and coordinate on a common strategy to implement the ideas generated by the ad agency. Here it boils down to ‘trust,’ which is a very big factor between the brand and the agency.
As far as the brand marketer is concerned, it is absolutely essential to treat the ad agency as a partner and not just as a vendor that will work according to the brief. Here it’s important to understand what exactly is the ‘brief’ – it is actually the guideline that the brand marketer provides to the client about the strategy to be followed. It is for the brand to understand why it has hired an ad agency to work on its creative communications and leave the arena free for the agency to come up with interesting ideas based on the strategy that has been outlined.
On the part of the ad agency, it is important that it should not step into uncharted territory by raising questions about the brand’s product offering. The agency’s job is find the best and most interesting way to communicate the benefits of the brand’s product. It should not exceed the brief or try to get involved with product development. Of course, these are not hard and fast line that either the brand or the agency doesn’t ever cross, but these are always exceptions and not the rule. That’s why in cases of misunderstanding or any gap in communication between the brand and the agency, there should be CBMs (confidence building mechanisms) available to handle crises.