Forum speakers' battle of the briefs

Pfizer manager (global operations events management) Richard Parker is urging clients to provide agencies with clearly defined briefs. During his seminar this morning entitled ‘Sowing Foundations for a Long Term Relationship’, at the C&IT Corporate Forum, Parker said: “The single-most important key to achieving a productive and smooth relationship with agencies was providing clear instructions.” “My team has saved a lot of time by turning customer ideas into a clearly defined brief,” said Parker. “But I have lost count of the number times I’ve seen a customer giving a brief to an agency and later telling them they have omitted something important. Meeting planning needs to be applied professionally. Doing so from the outset saves so much time and money.” However, Zibrant director of industry relations Peter Rand, who gave the seminar in partnership with Parker, said the onus was on suppliers to ask relevant questions of clients to ensure they had all the essential information from the outset. “It’s incumbent on the supplier to be asking the right questions and it’s incumbent on the client to answer them,” he said. Parker also spoke of the importance of consulting with agencies, taking on board their feedback and being willing to modify working practices accordingly. “It’s also important to have a transparent and consistent model because otherwise how can you show which agencies are working successfully and what they are doing is actually working?” asked Parker. Rand said it was likewise important for agencies to work transparently, particularly in being open with clients about their ability to handle their business during busy periods. He encouraged agencies to have confidence to advise clients how they could improve working practices. “It was tough as a supplier to go to the customer and say you’re not doing it right,” said Rand. “When you’re dealing with an agent that has a lot of clients they can bring that experience to the table and share it.”

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