Written in collaboration with Gurj Bansal (Content Marketing Manager, Studio Bravo)
You’ve probably heard the word “collaboration” thrown around a lot when talking to digital agencies. All agencies, us included, are keen to show clients that we’re dedicated to sharing ideas, working together and achieving common goals.
When it comes to agency-client collaboration, most (good!) agencies will have this nailed.
But what about when two agencies – especially two agencies with similar capabilities and offerings – partner up on one client project? How is true collaboration achieved in these situations, without stepping on each other's toes?
In a recent project for the Sydney Theatre Company, we (Made Media and Studio Bravo) did just that.
In this article, we’ll explain how we created a genuine and successful agency partnership that puts our client needs first.
How we achieve a great agency collaboration
1. Make it meaningful
Our first step when collaborating with another digital agency is to clearly define the project goals together. The key word there is ‘together’. Unless we’re aligned in our understanding and objectives, there’s no way the collaboration will work!
Key early discussions will be had to answer:
- What are the project goals?
- What is the budget and timeline?
- What is each agency responsible for delivering?
We always aim to have an initial meeting with all parties, including the client, so we can hear directly from them about the project requirements.
2. Get to know each other
It’s crucial for us to get to know the other agency as early on as possible. Introducing the relevant project teams on all sides is a must - and doing it over email doesn’t usually cut it.
We always like to take the time to meet our agency partners, face-to-face when possible. This sets a more personal foundation to build our working relationship on. And it always helps when you can put a face to a name!
3. Make it easy to communicate
Establishing a working routine is so important when it comes to agency collaboration. There might be many factors at play like differing time zones, team availability or working styles that influence the preferences of each agency.
Before the project formally kicks off, we’ll make sure we’ve jointly decided how and when it’s best for us to communicate. Some of the communication tools we might use include:
- A shared Slack channel for quick questions and answers
- Phone calls or emails for more detailed information
- Video calls or in-person meetings as required
- Jira (or similar project management platform) for managing and tracking the progress of tasks
4. Be open to new ideas
This is the difference between a good agency collaboration and a great one. It’s not always easy teaming up with another company, especially when you’re used to doing things your own way with your own team.
We find that the best approach to take is a flexible one. Rather than getting caught up in our potential differences, we embrace the experience, try to learn from the other agency and understand their ways of working.
We’re strong believers that ideas are better when they’re shared and it’s no different when talking about an agency-agency relationship.
5. Play to your strengths
Last but not least, we each stay in our lane with regards to project responsibilities. There’s no denying that sharing ideas and bouncing off each other's experiences can foster innovation and better ways of doing things.
But in the case of a collaboration between two agencies with similar skill sets and who may be friendly competitors to win projects and clients, it’s equally important to remember that each team has been brought into the project by the client for a reason – their particular expertise that’s relevant to the project at hand. By focusing on the tasks we’re responsible for delivering, and letting the other agency take the lead on their own tasks, we can avoid blurring the lines of division.
As long as everyone is still communicating openly, this is the best way of ensuring that deadlines don’t run away from us and that the client's needs are being met.
A Success Story - SeatCurve x Studio Bravo
So we’ve told you about how we collaborate successfully with other digital agencies, but how about an example to back it up?
Made Media and Studio Bravo have teamed up together in recent years across a number of digital projects.
These collaborations have centered around implementing our standalone select-your-own-seat (SYOS) application SeatCurve in Bravo designed and/or developed custom Tessitura and/or TNEW websites for arts and cultural clients in Australia.
When Bravo delivered the design and development of the Arts Centre Melbourne website, we successfully collaborated to also implement SeatCurve as part of that project, delivering an enhanced user-focused checkout experience.
For Sydney Theatre Company STC’s highly customised Tessitura implementation needed all the benefits SeatCurve affords, including allowing customers to easily see and select their own seats before purchasing tickets. This work was part of a significant upgrade of STC’s ticketing platform and the introduction of a new Sitecore content management system implemented by Bravo.
Despite being based on opposite ends of the earth, with the majority of Made Media staff in Birmingham and Studio Bravo in Melbourne, we’re proud to have achieved outstanding results together that benefit our clients greatly!
Partnering up with other agencies isn’t always easy. But at both Made Media and Studio Bravo, we set ourselves up for collaborative success by:
- Jointly defining the project goals, budget and timeline
- Clearly dividing our responsibilities
- Building real relationships with each other
- Having open channels of communication, and using them regularly
- Bringing an open mind and flexible attitude to the table
- Playing to our strengths and remembering why the client chose to work with us
We’re looking forward to teaming up on more projects in the future so watch this space!
Are you looking for help in creating your arts and cultural website with a seat selector tool? Reach out Made Media today at firstname.lastname@example.org or Studio Bravo at email@example.com
An award-winning Melbourne-based creative digital agency that imagines, designs and builds user-centred digital experiences with mobile, web and emerging technologies. Bravo’s digital solutions always hit the mark across a variety of sectors including arts, real estate, education, retail, health, finance and more. https://www.studiobravo.com.au
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