We’ve been lucky enough to land quite a few new clients this year. Winning business is of course a terrific feeling but the first kick-off meeting is where we get really excited. Plans turn into reality, creative ideas get refined and executed. A relationship is started. It’s all very energising and everyone is eager for it to succeed.

Getting the kick-off meeting right is an important step on the way to long-term happiness.  It’s a chance to reassure the client that they have made the right choice as well as ensure that everyone is agreed on what success will look like.  Here are our 10 top tips for a cracking kick-off. A lot of it is to do with getting the basics right…

  1. Circulate a kick-off agenda at least 24hrs in advance of the meeting. That way everyone can be prepped and nothing is forgotten
  2. Establish key strategic priorities so that everyone is pointing in the same direction
  3. Pick up on all immediate tactical priorities so that nothing falls through the gaps
  4. Agree a flexible six month plan so that everyone knows what deliverables are being committed to and all deadlines are timetabled
  5. Debate what success will look like and how it will be measured, then…
  6. Put in place team targets to be hit after six months so that ROI can be demonstrated
  7. Get fortnightly calls and monthly meetings for the next three months in the diary right away.  You can’t have a relationship if you don’t see each other
  8. Who are you going to report to and how are you going to do it? A marketing manager is going to need different information to a board director. How do you ensure that both are aware of your joint successes?
  9. Which spokespeople will you be producing content for and who else needs to feed into copy? And what is the approvals process?
  10. Send out a detailed actions report within 24 hours of the kick-off meeting covering off everything agreed…

But how do you ensure that the chemistry is still there six, eight, 12 months down the line? Or in the case of our longest serving client, how do you keep things fresh 10 years on? How do you use a great kick-off to reach relationship nirvana?

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. The old adage is mostly true…“the more you put in the more you get out”. We work really hard on behalf of clients and that’s a pretty good basis for getting great results. Indeed, we are proud that we have never lost a client through poor service.

However, to keep the magic alive you have to really work hard at the relationship too – regularly revisiting your joint measures of success, revising targets accordingly and ensuring that your joint efforts always, always deliver demonstrable ROI.

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