The Limits of Mind-Meshing

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Don't go too far in trying to bring left-brained and right-brained forces together. There are some good reasons, for both agencies and clients, to know where to draw the line. Here are some guideposts:

Don't tell them everything
Clients can glean value from bringing agencies into discussions of strategy and numbers, but CMOs have sound business reasons for limiting exposure as well.

"We'll say to the agency, 'This is the new strategy, and we need to execute it now,' and we don't want to explain the 'whys' in every detail," says Michael Bohn, director of brand marketing for Siemens Home Appliances, the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based marketer of Siemens, Thermidor, Bosch and other European-made appliances. "It saves a lot of time and energy alone."

Avoid analysis paralysis
Once you start, it's easy to make everything about numbers and business performance, which can begin to obscure crucial creative thinking. "You can get too caught up in using data from customers and making every decision very numbers-oriented," says Peter Kim, a Forrester Research senior analyst. "It only works as long as you're going to bring right-brain, soft skills to bear as well."

Cut out the silly stuff
In your zeal to bring the twain together, avoid the kind of HR-inspired, team-building exercises that have become the bane of cubicle culture across America.

"Most people jump to conclusions when they find out that our [bridge-building] process takes 'X' days and it's off-site," says Denise Kohnke, president jof Kohnke Hanneken, a Milwaukee agency. "But we don't role play or exercise or play music. It's very stripped down and actionable."

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