I know what you’re thinking. What the heck has chemistry got to do with marketing and advertising? Well, quite a lot actually. Bear with me as I explain.
I’m talking about the chemistry that exists – or should do – between an agency and a client. You can now breathe out and lower your shoulders from your earlobes, this blog has nothing to do with your year 10 chemistry lessons with Mr Higgins.
Chemistry helps to break the ice
I reckon that at some time or other we’ve all experienced those awkward moments just before a pitch begins when the only thing to break the silence is the shuffling of chairs and papers. The attendees nervously fill this time by focussing on anything they have to hand rather than make eye contact with others in the room.
The seconds, or possibly minutes, before anyone starts speaking are incredibly uncomfortable. Who starts the conversation? Is it the agency staff? Is it the client? Oh god, too much time has now passed for any small talk to feel natural. The pressure is well and truly on, and the only thing left to do is to launch straight into work-mode talk.
This unintentional stand-off between the respective heads of both organisations is going to be hard to shrug off. There now exists a real danger that the two-way conversations that are about to follow won’t be well executed or received.
To avoid this happening, there has to be chemistry.
What do you mean by chemistry?
It’s far more than just asking someone how their cockerpoo is, it’s about making a solid connection. Without chemistry the relationship will remain boring, lack any inspiring substance, and remain unproductive.
Let’s head back to that chemistry lab.
Science wasn’t my thing at school, so I didn’t pay too much attention to My Higgins’ words, but I do remember that there were lots of elements that when put together created something amazing, something that sparked, something that triggered a reaction. I recall taking two liquids, mixing them together and watching them interact to produce something extraordinary – the results would make my eyes pop out on stalks! Results I wasn’t expecting.
Chemistry is knowing how the qualities of various things act when on their own, to understand the limits, and how these qualities magnify and turn into something new and exciting when put together.
The chemistry between people
Science aside, let’s explore the meaning of chemistry in a relationship. To be fair, the principles are pretty much the same.
When the chemistry is a bit off – or simply doesn’t exist – it’s just like mixing the wrong chemicals together. And when these chemicals are thrown together their qualities magically disappear leaving you with a depressing mess of uncreative nothingness.
To prevent this tedium, the agency director and client must have a strong connection. They should be able to communicate candidly and effectively, understand each other’s needs and goals, and I do believe it’s key that they both have a sense of humour. A well-timed pun or bit of relevant banter during a stressful meeting will always lighten the mood, make the pitch more relatable, and get those brain cells working positively again to get those great ideas, simply delivered!
The trouble with ‘vanilla’ realtionships
If you don’t believe me, let’s take a quick look at what would happen if chemistry didn’t exist and neither party made an effort to inject any.
When an agency’s creative director or account director does not easily, or naturally, get on with the prospective new client the relationship won’t be genuine, and the pitch is highly likely going to fail and fail miserably.
And on the off chance that, despite the initial toe-curling awkwardness, the pitch is a success then the two respective teams are going to be working closely for some time to come.
This painful scenario doesn’t bear thinking about!
That chemical bond
All of us want to work with someone we like, someone that understands us, someone whose opinion we value, someone who is good fun and a pleasure to work with. If you don’t have that then any relationship is probably going to flounder, with distrust and discord being the overriding feelings rather than friendship and friendliness.
And as David Tyson so eloquently put it, “True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable”. I’ll drink to that!
Thirsty for more?
Our blog, ‘Breaking Up Is Easy To Do’ reveals what to do if the only option is to knock the relationship on the head.