The top 40 client-agency relationships last an average of 22 years, finds R3 research


R3 has released its guide to the best client-agency relationships, selecting 40 out of a potential 100.

According to the intermediary, an analysis of the relationships revealed that the average length of the 40 was 22 years, showing that creating a good relationship tends to result in loyalty of business. The industry average for the length of a client-agency relationship is just 3.2 years.

The topic of relationships is high on the agenda but more recently this has been because of negative headlines. The ANA released a report earlier this year slamming transparency from agency to client. It has since released advice for brands, including creating a chief media officer.

“Great marriages require mutual trust, a common understanding and clear goals,” said Greg Paull, Principal of R3. “What separates these partnerships is a sense that both sides are working to improve brand outcomes, separate to personal agendas, politics and infighting,” he added.

The report highlighted six ‘secrets’ of a great global marriage, which were all common traits of the top 40 relationships.

Look to new models – R3 said all cases had experimented and tried new ways of working, something needed in a constantly evolving industry.

Face time matters – According to R3, despite the proliferation of technology, getting quality time in is the best way of resolving issues.

Focus on outcomes, not inputs – R3 cited the recent McDonald’s and Omnicom agreement in praising the relationships that focus on mutually common objectives.

Take digital seriously – The report says too many brands are “buying digital by the yard, not by the year” and they need partners for digital transformation.

Immersion both ways – Both sides of the relationship need to properly understand each other’s business.

Benchmark and evaluate – The advice is that Global CMOs and agencies need to share a ‘Dashboard of Best Practice’ in order to always improve.

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