Flow Communications is one of South Africa’s leading marketing and communications agencies, creating partnerships that make a difference to our clients’ businesses.
With more than 60 staff and over 700 years of collective experience in brand, print, digital, social media, public relations, media, and media and communications training, Flow works with its clients to see how we can collaborate 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 working together to ensure the desired outcome.
This trust is an important part of a successful client relationship. We asked some of Flow’s project management team members to explain why trusting your marketing agency matters so much.
‘Trust builds confidence’
“I remember when I first started working at Flow, Tiffany [Turkington-Palmer, Flow MD] 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 Flow’s head of project management, Gail Tanner.
“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 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; 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.
As an example, Gail mentions that, in 2021, 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 that year.
“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.
Gregor Schmorl, programme manager of GIZ’s Climate Support Programme, said afterwards that Flow “was instrumental” to the implementation of the 2021 conference, that GIZ acknowledged the agency’s work and appreciated “the efficiency and diligence with which the project was implemented”.
‘We’re experienced and passionate’
Flow project manager Refiloe Mothapo echoes Gail’s sentiments, adding, “Clients should trust us with their work because we are specialised in the many different areas that make up Flow Communications.
“We have an outstanding combined number of years’ experience working on complex and challenging brand problems and, in most cases, we exceed client expectations with the results. We’re not only experienced but also passionate about what we do.”
Fellow project manager Ros Caboz, who has a wealth of experience in managing huge, complex projects for Flow clients, says, “At Flow, we believe that genuine partnerships are what contribute to great communications solutions.
“Clients approach us with their challenges because we have the expertise to develop and implement solutions to these issues. When we collaborate with our clients, who trust in our abilities, we are able to deliver our best work.”
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!
In conclusion, says Gail, “We need clients 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.”