Flow Communications is one of South Africa’s leading marketing and communications agencies, creating partnerships that make a difference to our clients’ businesses.
With the benefit of more than 60 staff and over 700 years of collective experience in brand, print, digital, social media and public relations, as well as media and communications training, Flow partners with its clients to see how we can work together to achieve their goals.
But to produce magic, we first make sure we win the trust of our clients – by being professional in all our dealings with them, expertly showcasing our skills and expertise, and delivering well-designed presentations and polished pitches, before embarking on the process of co-creation, with the parties collaborating to ensure the desired outcome.
And this trust is an important part of a successful client relationship. Here, Flow’s head of project management, Gail Tanner, explains why trusting your marketing agency matters so much.
‘Trust builds confidence’
“I remember when I first started working at Flow, Tiffany [Turkington-Palmer, Flow managing director] and Tara [Turkington, Flow CEO] completely trusted me to do my job; they let me run with it. That wasn’t the experience I’d had anywhere else I’d worked before. Did I fail? No,” says Gail.
“I grew as a project manager and I produced work with teams that I was proud of and that the company and clients were proud of. Trust builds confidence, and confidence allows people to deliver at their highest level.
“The same applies to agency relationships. Once a client has provided a thorough brief with all the information and context necessary to understand the task at hand and the problem that needs to be solved, they should then step back and trust the agency to solve the challenge, be it big or small,” she adds.
“Experience has shown us that the confidence the client instils in the team by trusting the agency will result in better solutions than the client anticipates. This trust and confidence mean better outputs for any project work we take on.”
Marketing agencies pitch to prospective clients for new work. When this happens, impressions matter – your prospective client needs to have peace of mind that you’re going to do a good job and make them stand out among their industry peers.
A client needs to trust that your fees are a good investment and money well spent. Some elements to consider to make this happen are: testimonials in the form of referral letters from existing or previous clients; case studies that showcase your work; an outline of your agency onboarding process and client service approach; and pre-project questionnaires to ask the right questions and identify any risks that both parties need to be aware of.
Last year, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa, through SPIPA (Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement), trusted Flow to come up with the concept for Climate 360 – a high-profile, virtual conference that took place on 18 and 19 November 2021.
“We had a budget and the client trusted us to manage and develop a large, impactful two-day event, which was a huge success,” says Gail. For the event, Flow ran a competition to reward and celebrate environmental start-ups whose projects and programmes are already helping to mitigate climate change and its effects.
“Flow Communications was instrumental in the implementation of the 2021 Climate 360 conference, a high-profile, two-day virtual event hosted by the EU Delegation to South Africa to drive awareness of the climate change emergency and inspire urgent action,” says Gregor Schmorl, programme manager of GIZ’s Climate Support Programme.
“GIZ acknowledges the work done by Flow Communications and appreciates the efficiency and diligence with which the project was implemented.”
Flow also used social media and influencers to drum up interest in the conference and drive registrations, and organised highly acclaimed keynote speakers and a performance by musician Jeremy Loops. With the EU’s support, this resulted in a powerful two-day conference.
Communicate, communicate and communicate!
Nothing builds client relationships better than quality work that is delivered on time, every time.
The relationship between a client and a project manager is key to this. It must be professional and involve ample communication, particularly when a milestone has been reached or there are unexpected changes. Communicate, communicate and communicate!
Says Gail, “We need the client to trust us, which means they need to know that we can do the job. Keeping them up to date with project progress on a regular basis gives them the confidence and reassurance to step back and let us work our magic.”