Organizations of all sizes can suffer from the consequences of internal functional barriers. It is so common, that many have
accepted them as an inevitable consequence of agency life. But with hard work and discipline, and by following the suggestions
outlined above, companies can get more out of agencies besides just what one team offers. Once established as standard operating
procedure, integration can help brand marketing dollars go further and do more. After all, when teams are in tune with one
another, it becomes possible to make better music.
Mind the Gap
Sometimes, the dynamics of integrated agency meetings—the way the agencies and the pharma company work together—is an obstacle
to coordinating a brand's messaging. By asking the following questions, brand teams can better understand if their partners
are experiencing a communications gap.
Does one agency dominate the discussion? Note who is speaking...a lot. While all the agencies may have time on the agenda, are one or two constantly given slots at
the end of the day? Do scheduling conflicts prevent all agencies from attending meetings at once, resulting in splintering
and some teams being kept out of the loop?
What's the protocol for follow-up? If everyone says "nice meeting" and walks away, but there is no follow-up, what was accomplished? Does the momentum built
at the meeting die off shortly thereafter?
What are the patterns of disconnect among agencies? Are there ways of communicating that result in short-sighted solutions to challenges? Is there confusion as to roles and
responsibilities or duplication of work? Is it clear whom to call depending upon the issue/need? When an agency presents an
opportunity that clearly has cross-discipline potential, has the agency not bothered to get insights from its counterparts
before coming to the brand team?
Are the partners being flexible? Do the agencies' operating procedures clash, and are they reluctant to change or adapt? Is there tension, frustration or
a drain on energy as a result? When different agencies distribute meeting minutes and next steps, are they handled differently?