Things a client can do to inspire trust and create a shared agenda:
Have lunch or a drink with the key people on your agency brand team. Talk about communications in general. Get alignment on models of how communications work.
Take a half-day with the agency to review ideas. Take 10 ideas you think are great, ask them to bring 10 ideas they think are great. Discuss.
Organise team-building events.
Inspire the team. Before briefing their new agency, Berghaus sent a box of their outdoor clothing and a map reference. The briefing took place up a mountain.
Give information when asked for it. “You don’t need to know that” is demoralising.
Ensure that the originators of the ideas, whether you get to meet them or not, are fully briefed on your business situation rather than just your communication needs. This way you may get a creative business idea rather than just a new campaign.
Negotiate the brief with your agency, don’t just deliver it as a fait accompli. Use their market knowledge and insight to add value to your own ideas and work with them to build a platform for creative thinking and originality.
Apply the normal rules of courtesy. Regularly keeping your agency waiting in reception for an hour will not make them want to go the hard yards for you.