(25 Ways to) Love the One You’re With

When 1970’s folk rocker Stephen Stills released his break-away hit single Love the One You’re With, we’re pretty sure he wasn’t talking about internal/external agency collaboration. Regardless, Stills’ lyrics are prolific calling us to live in harmony with one another, “If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with.” In keeping with the sentiment, IHAF has some one-liners of our own to encourage increased partnership between internal and external agency teams. We hope these lyrics inspire you to make beautiful music (or at least beautiful advertising) together.

1.    Develop opportunities for more face-to-face time; when you can’t meet in person use Skype.

2.    Establish space for external agency employees to work from your office, and vice-versa.

3.    Pair internal and external creative resources to work on projects together.

4.    Set-up an ongoing Google Hangout to enable frequency of contact and collaboration.

5.    Review the competitive landscape together and publish your findings in a co-branded report.

6.    Establish shared goals in support of overarching business objectives—joint contribution to ROI.

7.    Participate in quarterly business strategy and planning meetings together.

8.    Hold quarterly brainstorming sessions to come up with big-picture ideas together.

9.    Talk to each other about what work should be outsourced and what should be done internally—sort that out together.

10.   Tap the external agency when you need additional resources on your project team.

11.   Leverage each other to get unstuck—when you are struggling with an idea, reach out to your external agency counterparts and invite them to do the same.

12.   Build a case story around a successful project you’ve partnered on—promote it within the corporation and release it to the trade press.

13.   Develop a shared creative platform for product launches and/or significant creative campaigns.

14.   Have the creative directors from both organizations develop a presentation training workshop that everyone attends.

15.   Co-create a “creative brief writing” training workshop (you know you need one).

16.   Collaborate on the development of creative briefs.

17.   Get your external agency set-up on your project workflow system so they can have visibility to your projects and timing—and you to theirs.

18.   Conduct joint project status meetings.

19.   Invite your external agency counterpart(s) to attend your staff meetings.

20.   Have an annual offsite with them focused on building stronger, mutually beneficial partnerships.

21.   Attend conferences and trade events together (the IHAF Huddle and IHAF Awards Show are two that come to mind…)

22.   Enjoy a round of pizza and beer (or sushi and sake) together—getting to know each other as people goes a lot way to fostering teamwork.

23.   Participate in a ropes-course, trust-building, teambuilding outing together.

24.   Join a softball team together.

25.   Embrace the full potential of a collaborative relationship by checking your ego at the door.

Want to hear more about how internal and external agencies are working together? Join us for the upcoming IHAF Huddle on Internal/External Agency Collaboration. This traveling discussion group series will be in six cities this spring, featuring six internal/external agency duos who will share their stories of creative collaboration and business partnership. It’s time to love the one you’re with—register today!

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