Episode 4 | 01.02.2024

How Agencies Can Make Good (Or Bad!) Decisions When Selecting Clients

In this episode, we’re joined by Dr. Dominic Tantram, Founding Partner at Terrafiniti LLP, Chartered Environmentalist and Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), boasting over 25 years in consultancy. Dominic delves into effective client selection for creative agencies, emphasising the balance between commercial success and sustainability.

Listen to the full podcast episode on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

Navigating Client Selection

In an engaging podcast episode, Dr. Dominic Tantram offers a comprehensive exploration into the ethical quandaries that creative agencies confront when deciding which clients to represent. This discourse gains particular significance against the backdrop of Havas’s controversial partnership with Shell, spotlighting the intricate balance between commercial success and sustainability commitments as written by Marketing Beat.

Establishing the Frameworks

Dominic emphasises the need for agencies to forge robust ethical frameworks, guiding their journey through client selection. He advocates for a deeply reflective process, urging agencies to introspect:

“It’s a question of finding out what’s right for you as an agency, where you feel comfortable, where that fits your values, your mission, your purpose.”

This alignment, Dominic elaborates, is paramount not only to preserving the agency’s integrity but also to ensuring its prosperity and reputation in the long run. By adopting such a principled stance, agencies can navigate the tumultuous waters of ethical dilemmas with greater clarity and conviction.

Risk and Opportunity Assessment

Dominic navigates the audience through the complexities of assessing potential clients, offering a methodical approach to evaluation: “What is that company’s capability and intention to change look like… you can look at both their intention to do that in terms of stated aims, targets, leadership statements, etcetera, and their capability to do that.” This kind of scrutiny enables agencies to balance ethical considerations against the prospect of fostering sustainable practices. It’s a nuanced strategy that demands a keen understanding of both the potential risks and the opportunities that come with each client relationship.

Influencing Positive Change Through Client Relationships

Highlighting the influential capacity of agencies, Dominic discusses their unique position to drive positive change:

“What is your ability to influence… and have you got the capability to disengage if after discussion you haven’t got a position that you’re happy with?”

He accentuates the dual role of agencies as catalysts for change and as guardians of ethical integrity, prepared to withdraw should a misalignment of values occur. This delicate balancing act underscores the agency’s role in shaping the business landscape towards greater ethical and sustainable practices.

Transparency as the Key

Concluding his insights, Dominic champions the virtues of transparency and open dialogue:

“Transparency is an important component of ethics.”

He implores agencies to not merely establish clear ethical standards but to actively engage in candid discussions with clients about these standards. This practice fosters a culture of integrity and mutual respect, laying the groundwork for meaningful and responsible business relationships.

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