Adam Fennelow, Head of Services at the Design Business Association, shares a super-simple way for projects to be analysed for effectiveness right from the off, demonstrating Return on Investment and helping to ensure strong relationships between agency and client delivery teams.

The right steps at the start of every new project will inject effectiveness and build client/agency relationships. It is so simple that I am stunned by how few do it. Instead of retrospectively gathering data, you need to start every project together with a view to tracking and demonstrating effectiveness, strengthening a productive relationship and demonstrating the impact of everyone’s financial and time investment.

Those agencies and their clients who follow this model do very well. And it’s not complicated.

From the very first meeting have a template form so that you discuss, and log the response to, those important initial brief setting questions:
• What are we trying to achieve?
• What will success look like?
• How will we quantify that?
• If that is our goal, what is the situation now?
• What are the figures around the starting point?

Everyone needs to know where the finish line is, but it is just as important to agree where the starting line is. Discuss the underlying facts behind the need for the project. Interrogate what you need to achieve, and question the position at the moment – what change needs to come from the project, and why invest now?

Yes, many projects do indeed start this way. Agencies ask questions and interrogate the brief, clients set out their goals and KPIs, then everyone dives into the project and half way through everything is forgotten.

The responses to these questions and the data that supports and contextualises them needs to be logged and returned to frequently throughout the duration of the project – it will be the linchpin to determine commercial success. Keep it simple: regular update meetings can include this as a point of reference on every agenda, to set the context for conversations.

And this process does more than that. By asking these questions you are fully mutually invested in the project. You are jointly focused on the client’s business targets, goals, and the agency is proving that ‘we can get you there’. That is peak agency/client collaboration. And it builds the type of trust and confidence between both parties that delivers truly transformative work.

By having the starting point data, and clear, measurable business objectives at the start of the programme you can build these into the briefing. You can also explore ways to extrapolate other factors that may influence the results – a post-launch period before any advertising or promotions kick in, for instance.

And then in the months and years after launch, as the campaign develops, you’ll have ample mutual opportunity to keep the relationship alive by regular checking in on progress, with a shared interest in a growing positive outcome.