Blasphemy! You don’t want to be the AOR? Explain.
And so I will.
In a normal day, I talk to multiple agencies, and a little while back, I had a conversation with an agency principal that stuck with me.
He described a client they had: a Fortune 500 company they’d worked with for 3 years ongoing.
Every bit of the work was project work, and while they were essentially the lead agency, this principal was getting frustrated:
Why aren’t we the AOR?
To the point that he brought it up with their main contact, who, if I remember correctly, was the VP of Marketing.
He did this carefully, but had a relationship strong enough that he could be up front with his client. The conversation went along these lines (in my paraphrase):
Agency Principal: We’ve done some really good work for you and we really enjoy the work we do for you.
Client: Absolutely, your team is fantastic.
Agency Principal: Always like hearing that and appreciate the confidence. But I did want to throw something out to you. With all the work we do, we’re essentially your lead agency, but you don’t have an AOR-this is a little bold on my part, but why aren’t we your AOR?
Client: John, you essentially are our lead agency and I hope that doesn’t change for the foreseeable future. But you’re right where you want to be.
You don’t want to be our AOR
Agency Principal: (Perplexed) Why?
Client: AOR’s Get Fired.
Moral of the story?
Don’t be afraid to embrace project work, although the goal is always ongoing projects in that case.
And don’t self-select when it comes to new business opportunities. You find some agencies who aren’t open to certain project work, will only meet face-to-face, or simply aren’t willing to entertain a change of direction in new business strategy.
Does that mean you take any and all opportunities?
Of course not, but I see far too many agencies whose lack of new business flexibility leads to missed opportunity.
Don’t be that agency.