NABS Fast Forward 2016 Week Two: Rachel Bristow, ‘Your Client’ and Richard Lane, ‘The Brief’

Words by James Appleby, MEC, Team Peacock Mentor

With that ‘back to school’ feeling now firmly embedded in the delegates and mentors alike, the group convened on Mindshare on Wednesday evening to spectacular views in Mediterranean temperatures in order to hear from Rachel Bristow about how to get the most from your client relationships.

In the previous seven days, David Cameron had resigned from parliament and Mel and Sue had hung up their muffin tins rather than make the move to Channel 4. With such discombobulation in the warm night air, could Rachel possibly bring this room of hungry young hopefuls back down to earth?

Thankfully that was exactly how her talk took shape – distilling her years on both client side and media owner down to clear and hard fought lessons for the assembled company. The simple message: a good relationship with your client is just like a marriage.

While most of the assembled company have not yet had the experience of married life, it was clear to the delegates what this meant, as Rachel expounded on the theme; build your relationships on honesty, always looking to create trust through this honesty and be in it for the long term. There will be ups and downs but there will things you can do along the way to keep it on the straight and narrow.

Like remember you are an expert so understand your client’s business. It enables you to be informed and honest, in turn lending you credibility as an operator. Rachel cited that at a time when media agencies in particular are seen as less trusted by some clients, trust and transparency has never been more important. A clear reminder for the delegates to do their homework – metaphorically and literally. Useful advice indeed for the coming weeks.

She also gave some pointers for the pitch which the teams would be briefed on later that evening;

  • Deliver a simple idea as clearly as possible – complexity is not your friend
  • Answer the brief challenge – you would be amazed how often people don’t
  • Get to the media plan – don’t just brush over the slide where you are spending most of your client’s marketing budget
  • Finally, go beyond the brief – and don’t always wait for the brief if you have a good idea.

Rachel left the room with a very clear and human sense that while hard work, honesty, creativity and delivery were all important ingredients, if you want to have a strong and long-lasting relationship, you need to work out what gives you that healthy balance.

The delegates also got the first look of the brief, on which they will be working for the next six weeks. Richard Lane from Scope gave an eye-opening half hour of context and the world in which the brief would need to be answered. The social model of disability, the history of Scope and the huge social challenges facing them, particularly among younger groups. #EndTheAwkward

As the teams broke out into groups to devour the brief, it was clear that this is likely to be a real journey of discovery for the teams and mentors alike.


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