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Creative B2B bravery with agency partnership.


Approaching month 5 in lockdown with a child who openly questions my guidance and defies my suggested solutions, it occurred to me that the power to make courageous decisions when put on the spot simply has not evolved.

Each night my son offers a plethora of remarkably creative solutions to my routine requests. I offer my eyes and ears, but ultimately stick to my usual resolve in order to get him bathed and fed at 6pm, and off to bed by 7.30pm. All in order for me to survive a day where I feel in control.

But, what’s the worst that can happen if I allow his fabulously fresh ideas to completely change the course of the evening? He knows me well enough. Maybe if I agree to lighten up it will be a more enjoyable evening and positively uplifting for the entire household?

If I’m to encourage my son to accept fresh thinking in his future, I should nurture his independent thinking and let him win once in a while, right?


Image Source – Betsy Streeter

Perhaps the same approach can be adopted by B2B marketing managers who believe their brand needs a boundary pushing fresh creative and perhaps a new agency partnership.

Research informs us that C-suites are challenged to take risks and at times, struggle with uncertainty. Present them with new and novel ideas, and they find it hard to judge against what has been done before. They are more comfortable with dependability and predictability. Now, try aligning this mentality with a boundary pushing creative campaign brief request and the brain will be stretched in two opposing directions.

Despite the reassuring need for data and numbers, Global Brand Consultant Mark Ritson, openly states that marketing to a certain extent is experimental, and brand distinctiveness is essential for effectiveness.

I accept it’s not easy taking a leap of faith on a fresh faced partner when you have a pending campaign or a brand development deadline. But if the absolute intent is to light a flame with a new agency, here are some of my learnings and hopefully a helpful resource to assist criteria for change:

  1. If you have an urgent deadline, consider whether the situation is right for such a dramatic agency shift in such a short space of time.
  2. Build out a selection criteria (now and for the future) and share with all agencies. (Download the complimentary Green Hat Creative Campaign Checklist.)
  3. Give every agency 4 weeks minimum to prepare the creative media pitch.
  4. Make sure everyone tasked to support your agency decision meets with the agency. The opportunity to connect with the jury is better than presenting to the judge who isn’t present in the room.
  5. Each agency is offering you their high value time, consider paying it forward and mutually agreeing to give that value to a charity who really needs it right now.

Forging an agency partnership shouldn’t really start with a quick fire ‘let’s see how you fly’ project. If you really want to get the best from each other and enjoy the fruits of agency expertise, the best relationships are built by spending time getting to know one another.

Break new ground

The best creativity will always feel new, it will challenge your thinking. It should be relevant, yet novel.

I frequently ask my son to think outside the square with his ideas, and to wow me. When he proudly serves up his creations with a huge smile on his dial – I’m not about to change the rules of our engagement. Governance prevents me from placing his position in the family on notice, and I can’t simply choose to switch him out for one of his mates at short notice.

To be different is to be not the same. To be unique is to be one of a kind

Hopefully this agency/mum insight has been helpful. You can download the Green Hat Creative Campaign Checklist.

For brand bravery, read contagious 10 steps to brand bravery.


Andrew Haussegger

Andrew is the CEO and a co-founder of Green Hat. He is passionate about customer lifecycle marketing, sales/marketing alignment, and automated operational effectiveness. He developed the 3C3P strategic marketing methodology that has been adopted by many bluechip B2B brands, and is a co-author of the annual B2B Marketing Research report.