One debate that’s generating lots of column inches right now is a business’ internal v external creative structure. Should businesses take their creative in-house / out–source agencies that work in their offices so they’re more immersed in the products or services they’re communicating. Or does an external creative agency offer greater objectivity and a broader viewpoint, not constrained by company thinking.

I’m not adding to that debate here by offering an opinion siding with the external agency model. But, it does lead me on to something I would like to talk about.

And that’s relationships.

Because whatever the structure, business success relies on communicating in such a way that people understand the role a product or service plays in their lives and they see how they can benefit from it. Only when that happens can you consider if your brand is forming deeper, longer term relationships where value is fully communicated and understood.

And to do that, to move beyond short term thinking where creative teams are simply completing a specific job or task without considering the full picture (and by default, roll out lowest common denominator creative), and begin to think more deeply, identifying truths that resonate with people, you have to build strong relationships. Get the relationship right, however it’s constructed, and you’ll stand a far better chance of success.

How do you create a strong relationship?

A recent Econsultancy “Partners in Transformation” report, in association with IBM, highlighted the importance of collaboration. The report found that highly successful businesses are far more engaged with their agencies (63% more likely to work with their agency partners), specifically when it comes to customer experience, and highlights the ability to share new and innovative ideas that improve CX as where the greatest value is added.

The sharing of ideas and information is at the core of delivering newness and innovation that works. And it’s no co-incidence it’s central to building a strong relationship as well. Sharing business and customer insight encourages a free, healthy exchange of ideas, pushing things forward. Ideas are challenged to deliver better outcomes and creative partners can effectively interpret insight, making informed creative decisions that build trust. When you have trust you can be brave and build messages and communications that get to a truth people identify with. No brand should want their communications to be wallpaper, lost in a huge morass of middle ground, inoffensive but easily forgettable vanilla. Brands should want their creative to have a point of view, something people understand, something that helps them make decisions.

So if you want to get to better work that actually works, share information. Allow your creative partner to look further ahead, and trust them to take that information to deliver better outcomes – if you want better work, get the relationship right.