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A man and a woman leaping off a cliff into a blue sea beneath.

Shawn Mak

You jump, I jump: How the client-agency relationship can evolve

One of my favourite things to do when I was a young whippersnapper was to climb to the top of a jungle gym and leap from it. I absolutely loved it. I thought that’s just what kids do: You eat McDonald’s, you stay up way past your bedtime, and find places to jump off of.

And each time, I would scale higher and higher, sometimes just to see what the view was like, but most times to see if I was still capable of jumping. Without fail, even if it sometimes takes me nerves of steel and gallons of Coke, I jumped. Until one day my ankle gave way and I broke my chin. “No superhero, this one,” was what my brother said. That’s when I discovered the notion of my own mortality. And that sand sucked.

But the funny thing was, pretty soon, kids from the neighbourhood would be taking big air from the very same vantage point that challenged the brave (those who wanted to prove they could do it without being sent for stitches), and lured the foolish (those like me, who just liked to jump off stuff).

Going beyond the norm for the client-agency relationship

The client-agency relationship can be more than a fancy handshake.

So how does this relate to the client-agency relationship? When it comes to creative work, what most clients want–whether they admit it or not–is to be swept away and see things they have never seen before. They may not say it. Heck, they may not even buy it.

But when you take them to the top of that jungle gym, and show them a new vantage point in the work, you can always see that glimmer of excitement–signaled by that sparkle in their eyes, a smile that breaks from the corners of their mouth, that forward lean in the chair–and it’s brilliant!

As an agency, of course you want clients to take that leap with you. The bravest ones do. And the rewards are immeasurable for both parties. But not all clients will prepare to take the jump, and that’s ok too. Sometimes it’s reward enough just to see their eyes light up and their mental gears shift, as they survey their futurescape and contemplate the possibilities.