So after months, maybe years of negotiation and vision building you finally have the budget to build your next digital platform. You may have nothing more than a vision and a budget or have already commissioned a design, purchased a Content Management System, set-up the hardware infrastructure and registered for all your social channel.
But whatever stage you are at, it’s time to engage a partner who can help you deliver on the vision for all those stakeholders who are now asking you – "When’s the new website going live…?"
Couple of key words in that last sentence; engage and partner. For while you “can” get even the most basic of service from just about anyone who says they offer it, few of us sign up without at least some thought to what we want out of the process over and above the basic solution. As an agency working across many market sectors we come across a whole range of customers, each with their own idea of how things will go. Whilst it is obviously the agencies task to understand each new customer, the team, the vision, the problems, the constraints and the opportunities, solution delivery works best when both the agency and the customer work together – that’s the meaning behind the US is our brand, our approach and our attitude.
So what can customers do to make sure they get what they need from any new digital agency?
Stop thinking robots.
You didn’t set out to end up with a copy and paste solution that omits most of what matters most to you. You are about to partner with a new team of individuals each with their own gifts and talents; get to know them and make sure you get them doing what they do best for you. The more you talk and share, the more likely you are to get what you really want; and that may not be what you thought you wanted at the start
Be prepared to learn.
You have the budget,the vision and the in-depth knowledge of your business processes and all that is invaluable but without the design flair and technical depth of your chosen agency it will remain just an aspiration. Both parties have a lot to bring to the shape of the solution. Seek and listen to the advice offered; challenge if you aren’t comfortable but be prepared to be challenged yourself to go further and higher than you ever imagined. One key objective for any new digital project is to be better than all the rest so be ready to dream some dreams
Don’t treat your new agency like a factory where you only see money and time going in and nothing coming out until there is something to look at. Be available and inject yourself in the agencies work. Find out how they do what they do and use that to your advantage. Follow their processes as much as you can as going your own way and constantly feeling frustrated will only bring pain. Yes you’ve employed an agency to work for you but they know what they are doing (or why would you employ them) so work with them and get the most out of them
But the agency are the experts?! Well yes…they ought to know how to reliably and consistently deliver stunning design and functional excellence or they won’t stay in business for long, but only you know what will make your stakeholders happy, only you know what you are trying to initially achieve and only you know your own team. Free the agency up to do what they are good at by handling your own team; have a dedicated, authorised and empowered stakeholder as a single point of contact. Review and check all the information and communications you send to them for accuracy and consistency and don’t overload them with every thought in every one’s head – the agency has a special task to do for you so let them get on with it.
Working with any new team in any area of life brings its own joys and challenges and you wouldn’t just expect anything that involves working with people to be an immediate fit – you need to work at relationships. Engage and partner and you’ll find working with a new team of clever, switched on people can be both rewarding and fun.