ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

In Lady Win­der­mere's Fan, one of Os­car Wilde's char­ac­ters de­scribes the cynic as some­one "who knows the price of ev­ery­thing and the value of noth­ing." It's fair to call CEOS and CFOS cyn­ics when it comes to their mar­ket­ing bud­gets. Rarely do client-side de­ci­sion mak­ers report to their fel­low C-suit­ers the value your agency pro­vides. In the end, that usu­ally means you aren't com­mu­ni­cat­ing your value well, or strongly enough. Ei­ther way, it's a prob­lem when clients are more fo­cused on your in­voices than your ser­vices… and gen­uine cul­ture. Your clients' per­ceived value of your ser­vices ex­erts sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on their per­cep­tion of you and their de­ci­sion about whether to stay with your agency (or not). In one famous study out of Stan­ford Univer­sity, par­tic­i­pants were given two glasses of the same ex­act wine, ex­cept they were told that one glass was from a $5 bot­tle of wine while the other was from a $45 bot­tle of wine. Guess which wine they thought tasted bet­ter? It works both ways. While price can be used to boost per­ceived value, in­creas­ing per­ceived value first can be used to val­i­date higher pric­ing, ex­pand re­la­tion­ships, or move to (higher) re­tainer agree­ments. Per­ceived value re­sults from clearly un­der­stood and rel­e­vant quan­tifi­able and qual­i­ta­tive fac­tors. For­tu­nately, any agency has se­ri­ous power to shape how clients per­ceive its value. Lis­ten to what some big clients had to say when asked what Head of Group Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Depart­ment, By­b­los Bank

Cor­po­rate Cul­ture is crit­i­cal, in as far as it en­com­passes shared val­ues with us and with our brand; it is cer­tainly a key de­ter­min­ing fac­tor in the se­lec­tion of any part­ner for our busi­ness (not only the agency). When the val­ues are aligned, we can work out var­i­ous mi­nor de­tails to make the part­ner­ship work and yield the de­sired re­sults. Thus, other fac­tors, which are im­por­tant can be op­ti­mised for a more re­ward­ing re­la­tion­ship and for bet­ter out­put.

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