Ask a client anything: When Provident agreed to a Branded3 Q&A

At Branded3, our execution teams collectively aid the success of the campaigns we produce for our clients.

However, more often than not, it tends to be only those who are client facing who reap the satisfaction of delivering good news, or who spend enough time with clients to understand their pain points and how we can help to resolve them.

This gave us an idea: why not hold an agency-wide Q&A session with an actual living, breathing client, and give the whole business the opportunity to ‘ask a client anything’? What could possibly go wrong, we hear you ask?!

On this occasion, Jennie Green from Provident – one of our longest standing clients – very kindly agreed to jump in the hot seat. Here are a few of the highlights from the session:

How big of a role does Branded3 play in your overall marketing strategy?

Had you have asked me this two years ago, I would have said SEO was quite a small element of our marketing strategy. However, the shift in focus in the last 12 months has been phenomenal.

SEO is a difficult subject. It’s not as cut and dried as other campaigning, but together we have worked hard on educating the stakeholders of the importance of this channel, to develop SEO in to a high performing, sustainable channel with a prominent focus in the business.

Since the start of our relationship, we have seen substantial increases in organic search traffic due to a combination of link building campaigns, improved on-site content, and ongoing technical reviews. This has given us more flexibility with paid campaigns, allowing our overall strategy to become more cost efficient. So, to answer your question, Branded3 isn’t just a supplier, they’re our partner.

How are we different to other agencies you’ve worked with?

Simple. You listen. My pet hate is when agencies cut you off mid-sentence during a briefing, eager to show they’ve understood, only to make assumptions and deliver something completely off-piste come the agreed deadline.

Listening and understanding is key – even if you ask ten times over, it saves time in the long run, and shows care and consideration for your work.

I think it’s important for agencies to remember to challenge. Remember that as an agency you are the experts. If the client isn’t getting something, it’s likely that you just haven’t found the best way of explaining it. 

What is important to them? For us, it’s the ultimate value, so knowing that you think an activity will drive extra visits over a year, and at conversion that means extra new customers, profit, etc. It helps sell it in at board level, and I don’t think many clients will be wildly different.

What do you think makes the client/agency relationship so successful?

Learn about your client. How do they like to be contacted? What format do they like to receive documents in? How much knowledge do they have?  What else does their job involve (i.e. are they channel specific or cover a lot of areas)? And share all this information with the entire Account Management team.

In meetings, don’t underestimate the knowledge of a client. If you’re not sure, then ask. By all means include the detail in a deck, but ask the client if they want to go through it, or if they’re comfortable skipping it to read in their own time.

And, although it might sound slightly cheeky, we love that Branded3 never underestimate the power of client hospitality. It is really appreciated. It’s a great way to break down barriers and helps clients feel more relaxed with agencies, which ultimately leads to a better relationship. Going for drinks or food after a meeting can genuinely work wonders. 

What’s your favourite campaign Branded3 have delivered for Provident and why?

It has to be Unbroken Britain. The success of this campaign has delivered over 70 quality links and over 40 separate pieces of coverage across sites which include my all-time-favourite – Ladbible!

As a result, it’s delivered a 91% increase in visibility following Penguin 4.0 rollout. Provident now ranks 2nd for “doorstep loans”, and holds 51% market share within the “doorstep loans” sector. We re-run it bi-annually, and it’s now something even the board get excited about in the run-up to release!

So, that rounds up a successful session with Jennie, who gave up her own time to spend with us. These roundups are invaluable to us as an agency, and as such, we will be running them on a regular basis with the spotlight on a different client each quarter.

As so many individuals from the wider business are non-client facing, sessions like these give everyone the opportunity to engage with the brands we work with on a more personal, one-to-one level. This ultimately helps to close the gap between agency and client and strengthen our partnerships in doing so – as the cliched old saying goes, one team, one dream!

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