Playing nice

Playing nice
SHARE
THIS



It’s a fairly common situation: two competing agencies working for the same client. What happens? They stab each other in the back – subtly sabotaging each other’s work, criticising each other’s work to the client, talking up their own capabilities in contrast.

Meanwhile, the agency teams suffer an unpleasantly hostile working relationship, the client pays for resource dedicated to skirmishing that could have been directed into servicing their needs, and everyone’s joy is sapped by the depressing experience of producing adequate but uninspiring work that could have been great.

All the agencies had to do was work together and everyone would have benefited – including the client, whose budget for both agencies may well have expanded as a result of the cooperative effort.

So why didn’t they?

Incentivising nastiness

At the heart of the problem is the simple fact that, individually, we are paid to make money for our agency, not to help our clients.

Don’t get me wrong – in the long run, helping our clients is the best way to make money for our agency, but often an individual’s performance is measured against short-term targets rather than long-term gains.

This translates into account managers being pressured from above to grow their accounts by undermining the accounts of competing suppliers. And even if there’s no pressure to go on the offence, there’s the fear of being on the defense – losing business to the aggressive tactics of the competition.

When faced with this situation, however the other agency behaves, the outcome will be better for you if you play nasty. They play nice? You screw them. They play nasty? You keep from being screwed. It’s a no-brainer.

The thing is, they’re faced with the exact same situation. And it’s a no-brainer for them too.

So if you both act rationally for short-term benefits, you’ll both play nasty. And if you both play nasty, you’ll both get a fairly undesirable outcome. But if you both just played nice, you’d both get a fairly desirable outcome.

In game theory, this scenario is called the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and its solution hinges on a simple fact: we don’t face these situations just once, but rather face them over and over again.

Finding a solution

Looking for the best strategy for repeated instances of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a political scientist named Robert Axelrod organised a tournament in which different strategies could be competed against each other.

In a study of the other most successful strategies in the tournament, Axelrod found five recurring traits. Successful strategies…

· …are never the first to play nasty.

· …counter-attack when the competition plays nasty.

· …return to playing nice if the competition stops playing nasty.

· …often trial a return to playing nice to give the competition a chance to do the same.

· …don’t seek to reap more benefit than the competition.

So, what does that mean for you?

Benefiting in the real world

Take a little advice from mathematics in your relationships with other agencies…

1. Treat other agencies the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t look for opportunities to undermine other agencies. Hell, if you think they did a good job, tell them and the client that you think so.

2. But don’t be a doormat. If you learn that another supplier has started trying to push you out of business you already handle, you push right back.

3. Favour reconciliation. If things are hostile, be eager to end hostilities. They might not expect that, so there’s a good chance you’ll have to let them know. Have a coffee or a beer, tell them the situation’s bad for everyone and work together on ending it.

4. Let your agency’s work do the talking. Most important point of all. Another agency can only really push you out of business if you don’t deliver good work (you don’t deserve the client) or your client can’t recognise good work (the client doesn’t deserve you). Either way, a team that prioritises quality over politics will win the long game.

Remember, qualities like humility, respect, friendliness, forgiveness and integrity aren’t for suckers – they’re good for business.

You can’t argue with that: it’s maths.

Ryan Sproull is a digital strategist at Zuni. 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing
  • Partner Content

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%
  • Marketing

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%

• Ad spend in Australia forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 , with main drivers of growth in Government, Retail, Finance and Gambling sectors. • Global advertising spend to grow by 3.9%, revised up from 3.6% in January 2018. • Digital to overtake TV for the first time, to reach 38.4% of global share (TV 35.5%). In 21 out of the 59 markets tracked, digital will be the leading advertising channel in 2018. • One quarter (25.2%) of global ad spend will be delivered through mobile devices for the first time.

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines has announced the appointment of Emma Baston as client strategy director for Victoria. Baston has worked in senior digital media buying and planning roles at various agencies including UM Australia, Cummins&Partners and MindShare, with exposure across the strategy, communications and creative process. She has also worked at Facebook in a […]

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.
  • Media

SBS Launches Diverse Communities Content Initiative

SBS has launched the Short-Form Content Initiative, a commitment to providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse communities through the commissioning and production of content for SBS On Demand. SBS has partnered with five of Australia’s screen agencies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and South Australian Film Corporation. The initiative aims […]

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi
  • Campaigns

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi

BIG W, the home for families, fun and entertainment, has today launched its annual toy sale campaign – Toy Mania. Running until 11 July, the campaign showcases the frenzy and hysteria that comes with the BIG W toy sale. It also highlights that buying toys can be just as fun as playing with them and […]

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’
  • Technology

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’

Datorama, a global technology company, today announced the launch of Data Canvas, a suite of new data visualisation capabilities within its Marketing Intelligence platform. Datorama Data Canvas leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in a brand new way — to help marketers create expert-designed dashboards to tell compelling, data-driven stories. Datorama’s previous AI releases have […]

Who’s Looking The Goods At Cannes Lions 2018
  • Opinion

Who’s Looking The Goods At Cannes Lions 2018

In this opinion, Fjord lead Bronwyn van der Merwe (pictured below) discusses the work to look out for at Cannes Lions 2018. I fully expect there will be some staggering examples of creative brilliance at Cannes Lions this year, and I’d recommend anyone going resists having their attention pulled by projects that are largely based on […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
We Are Social Acquires Socialize
  • Media

We Are Social Acquires Socialize

We Are Social has acquired Socialize; however, it will not be renamed We Are Socialize or even Margaret for that matter.

Global Marketing Player adm Appoints Country Manager For Australia & NZ
  • Marketing

Global Marketing Player adm Appoints Country Manager For Australia & NZ

International marketing services business adm Group Ltd has appointed Matt Cave as its country lead for Australia and New Zealand. Cave (pictured above) has more than 25 years of industry experience in the Asia-Pacific region, and will be instrumental in driving adm’s expansion throughout Australia and New Zealand. With 26 offices in 19 countries around […]

Weploy CMO Ben Eatwell: “We Want To Help Businesses Challenge The Status Quo”
  • Media
  • Technology

Weploy CMO Ben Eatwell: “We Want To Help Businesses Challenge The Status Quo”

Weploy began with a shared realisation between two friends that recruiting quality staff had become too complicated and it was high-time so declutter the process. Based in Melbourne, the start-up combines Tinder-style online skills-matching with Australian job market, and in doing so, rids eager employers of the strenuous – and at times incredibly uncomfortable – […]

Nielsen Acquires Sydney-Based Media Analysis Business Landsberry & James
  • Marketing

Nielsen Acquires Sydney-Based Media Analysis Business Landsberry & James

Nielsen has announced it has acquired Landsberry & James (L&J), a leading media analysis and software company based in Sydney, Australia. L&J designs, develops and markets software across the entire media analytics, planning, buying and post analysis process for television, digital, radio, advertising expenditure and advertising creatives. Nielsen’s investment in L&J enables an unparalleled and powerful […]

Pac Mags’ Home Beautiful Partners With Harvey Norman To Launch ‘Cooks Co-Op’
  • Marketing
  • Media

Pac Mags’ Home Beautiful Partners With Harvey Norman To Launch ‘Cooks Co-Op’

Home Beautiful and Harvey Norman have partnered on a new content series which will transform a quintessential Aussie shed into a field-to-fork restaurant whilst showcasing culinary local heroes. In 2012, Martin Boetz (pictured above, right) – the chef behind the cult following of Longrain during his 13-year stint – escaped the bustle of the big smoke […]

Music Feeds & Purple Sneakers Join Forces
  • Media

Music Feeds & Purple Sneakers Join Forces

Music Feeds and Purple Sneakers have unveiled a new strategic partnership that will allow music industry and direct advertisers to extend campaign bookings across all Purple Sneakers digital platforms when booking with Music Feeds. Founded in 2005 by Martin Novosel as a club brand and events company, Purple Sneakers is a key player in the Australian […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Headway & App Annie Get Ready For FIFA 2018
  • Media
  • Technology

Headway & App Annie Get Ready For FIFA 2018

Headway, the leading data-driven media buying company, has teamed up with market data and insights company AppAnnie. Together, the companies have unveiled The App Marketer’s Guide to the World Cup – a whitepaper designed to help app marketers succeed. Every year, flagship sporting events are breaking the internet with increasing viewership and the 2018 FIFA World Cup […]

Twitter Makes In-Stream Video Ads Available To All
  • Advertising
  • Media

Twitter Makes In-Stream Video Ads Available To All

Social media giant Twitter has announced it’s making in-stream video ads available to all advertisers – including self-serve – across 12 markets, including Australia. The popular video format attaches pre-roll content in front of premium publisher videos and highlights. The 12 international markets where Twitter’s in-stream ads will be available are Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, […]

Australian Alliance For Data Leadership Appoints New CEO
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Australian Alliance For Data Leadership Appoints New CEO

The Australian Alliance for Data Leadership (AADL) has announced the appointment of credentialled senior executive Stephen Porges as its new CEO. Porges currently sits on a number of company boards, has considerable public and private sector listed company management expertise, and has been instrumental in successful data-driven businesses. He also brings CEO skills gained at […]

Business , Nicola Lewis poses for a portrait in Surry Hills. Lewis is being appointed to run WPP's GroupM in Australia and New Zealand.  
Pic Jenny Evans
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Nicola Lewis

GroupM investment chief Nicola Lewis is grilled in latest Women in Media profile. It's more a gentle simmer, really.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine