THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Is it possible for an agency to retain a client for over 25 years? - Butlins has just changed PR agencies after 21 years with Charles Barker

Andrew Christophers, KP Foods

Andrew Christophers, KP Foods

’It should be possible for a relationship of that length to exist, but

generally only when there is immense trust on either side. The

relationship can survive personnel changes on the client side if the

agency can provide continuity of the understanding, but too many changes

on the agency side certainly puts a strain on the relationship. It’s the

people that you trust, rather than an agency brand.’

Gordon Storey, Mars Confectionery

’At a corporate level it’s entirely possible to have a relationship of

that length with an agency that has a good understanding of your

corporate values. But at a brand level it would be far too long, as you

need constantly fresh ideas. In those situations it can be a positive

advantage to have an agency that isn’t steeped in the history of a

brand’s development, because you want a new approach.’

Jonathan Simnett, A Plus

’In the hi-tech industry companies existing for 20 years are almost

unheard of. The client you started with on day one would be

unrecognisable from the company you end up with in year 20. We don’t

have anyone we started with and well over half have disappeared, either

by absorption or financial failure. To keep a client, agencies must be

able to match the rate of innovation and change in the client industry.’

Chris Hopson, Granada Media Group

’The relationship between client and agency is, in many respects like

that of husband and wife - it needs constant refreshment. The agency

needs to come up with new and exciting ideas, provide a top class

service and ensure that the relationship doesn’t become stuck in a stale

and boring rut. If that’s genuinely the case, there shouldn’t be any

reason for the client’s attentions to wander.’

Julia Thorn Paragon

’Like any relationship where there’s a choice of options available, it

has to be worked at if its going to stay fresh. Ringing the changes

within the agency team helps keep energy and ideas flowing while

maintaining the knowledge and continuity that the agency can offer. But

one of the key dynamics of agency culture is that clients come and

clients go.’

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