Don't Soil the Sandbox

Rules for Playing Well With Other Agencies

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Jim Wegerbauer Jim Wegerbauer
Collaborating with other agencies is happening more and more these days. As a small- to medium-sized shop, how well you play with others may well determine how many sandboxes you get to play in. Don't foul it up for everyone, especially your clients.

Working for LatinWorks, an Austin-based multicultural shop, this is something that my colleagues and I take a lot of pride in -- whether we're the lead or complementary partner. Here are a few ideas on how to make sure that clients get everything they deserve from their entire team:

1) Ground Rules. Make sure everybody knows how the workflow goes and who is making what decisions when. Sounds easy, right? But I've seen too many instances where territorial battles have needlessly broken out because no one laid out a clear approach beforehand. Clients, you may want to ask for this upfront.

2) Learn to Follow. If you're a good shop, you're a leader. It's in your DNA. But sometimes you've got to make way for those responsible for certain areas and decisions. Try to learn from them. At LatinWorks, we're fortunate to partner with agencies such as Goodby, Crispin, BBDO and more. While their ways may not always be our way, it's great to see how others do it. It's made our shop better.

3) Great Ideas Don't Know Their Parents. If you're the lead shop and see something great from another partner, use it. Cherish it. Celebrate it. Don't be insecure, let your love of ideas and your commitment to your clients win out. Trust me, your client will appreciate you placing their business before yours, and it'll pay off in the long run.

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Jim Wegerbauer is VP-insights and innovation at LatinWorks, Austin, Texas.

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