Behaviours that define the best client-agency teams

Posted 24th February 2021

Seven key behaviours that encourage the best client-agency relationships.

Analysis of our database of more than 23,000 client-agency evaluations, reveals fascinating insights about the behaviours of higher-performing teams.

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Executive summary
  • Trust is the new benchmark for clients in a post-Covid world, over and above Functional ability to ‘do the job’
  • Communication is the top scoring behaviour among the best agencies – but Trust has slipped
  • Covid has changed the landscape and both agencies and clients have demonstrated Resilience
  • Challenge is the biggest differentiator for agencies and clients alike
What a difference a decade makes

Based on figures from 2010 we pinpointed the fundamental characteristics of client-agency performance.

Data from the following 10-year period to 2020 shows that while functional areas are still critical to team performance, behaviour metrics like Trust, Challenge, Communication and Resilience are increasingly important in helping build strong, productive relationships.

In response to this trend, Aprais has added a ‘behaviours’ dimension to its database. This has defined the seven key attributes of high-performing team

A changing picture for agencies and clients

Traditional disciplines haven’t changed much since 2010 for clients or agencies, in terms of order of importance. Behaviours on the other hand have changed in priority over the last decade, and in particular in data taken during the Covid pandemic.

Functional competence has gone from being the highest scoring behaviour for clients 10 years ago, to fourth in 2020, behind Trust which is the new benchmark.

The impact of WFH on team behaviours

Over the last 18 months (up to 23 September 2020) as Covid has changed the landscape beyond recognition, there have been notable improvements in how clients’ rate their agencies’ Communication.

The Resilience of agencies has also been noted by clients – as per a previous report by Aprais, it is becoming the must-have behaviour for agencies and clients alike.

By turn, agencies have scored the top 10% of clients better on Challenge, meaning the clients that are willing to take risks and try new approaches are scoring better in the eyes of their agencies.

“There have been phenomenal changes in the business world in the last decade. The data clearly shows these changes have affected team behaviours and the teams that will succeed, will master these skills”.

Beth Lewis, Head of Client Services, Aprais

Among the bottom 10%, Challenge is the metric that’s lagging, suggesting here is where clients can improve their behaviour and be more open to change to boost their overall relationships.

Clients and agencies that are willing to respond to these changing demands and invest time and effort in their relationships will see improvements.