One thing that stuck with me after the W+K seminar last week is that. Tissue sessions. I think I may have blogged about this in a previous life because it seems like such a common-sensical thing, yet something that seldom happens here.
They call them "tissue sessions" and I deduced (no confirmation from google) that it comes from the fact that, when you have an idea, you sometimes doodle it on whatever comes handier, and usually tissues are handiest. What it is is an intermediary session with the client when you have some ideas but want to run them by the client before developping them further.
Now, please take a moment to think about what this means: a relationship with the client which is so good that you can drag him aside, like you would your mother, and say "look, we have something, it may be crap, we don't know, but it may be genius also, so we thought we'd run it by you just before it gets out of hand". And the client agrees to listen to ongoing work and give you his two cents.
This is very much in contrast to what happens with lots of clients, where presentations are always handled as if they were the big "taddddaaaaa". Even if we develop a tagline to the TVC we feel the need to drag a planner onboard, make a huge ppt, rob flickr clean of all the inspirational images it has, and arrange a meeting with all the marketing staff of the client. I think it may have something to do with the following:
a) advertising is always a narrow balance between knowing-what-you're-doing and not-having-a-clue, so everytime you do something you feel like you have to prove you know what you're doing
b) the dog-eat-dog mentality is sooooo entranched, that you always feel the need to give the client more than his money's worth just in case you get evaluated and they decide you're not trying hard enough
c) advertising is always to be blamed or commended for EVERYTHING so we make sure nothing we do seems unimportant.
Weirdly enough, this always positions the ad agency as the circus freak trying to make a show and the client as the snorty audience. It's a serious and painful divide perpetuated by god-knows-who but which definitely takes its toll on the work.
Tissue sessions are nice because they build consensus, they build team and trust and most importantly they help with brainstorming, with safeguarding brief objectives early on.
So, how about instituting Tissue Sessions for everything? :)
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.