ANA/4A’s Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations

Dear 4A’s Friends:

Project assignments are on the rise; however, there has been little industry-wide consistency in terms of how agency reviews for project work should be conducted. The 4A’s and ANA believe that there is an opportunity to streamline the agency selection process for project assignments.

An ANA/4A’s task force has developed ANA/4A’s Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations, a white paper that provides clients and agencies with principles to help optimize the review process for project assignments.

Best practices for conducting an agency search for an Agency of Record (AOR) are well documented in both the ANA/4A’s Guidelines for Agency Search and the ANA/4A’s Agency Selection Briefing Guidance. However, until now, agency reviews for project work did not have a similar guidance tool.

4A’s surveys have documented the expansion of project assignments and noted that the trend toward project reviews is on the rise. Project assignments come in many different types, scopes and complexity ranges. The importance of project review efficiency to both clients and agencies warrants thoughtful project review planning and prudent process calibration so that the scale of the request fits the size of the opportunity.

ANA/4A’s Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations Highlights
The ANA/4A’s Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations white paper discusses Agency of Record (AOR) and Project by Project (PxP) models and suggests practices for clients and agencies to consider in order to streamline the efficiency and improve the effectiveness of project reviews.

The ANA/4A’s Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations initiative addresses the key issues and opportunities relating to reviews that are for a project assignment. Key project review guidance suggestions include:

  • Clients should think about agency selection. In the case of a project-based relationship, clients may choose not to conduct a formal review-not all projects benefit from one
  • Clients should be transparent with the project budget and the future opportunity
  • Exclusivity/conflict parameters, if any, should be abbreviated and tightly defined
  • For short-term projects, clients should not require or suggest that agencies submit spec work
  • Agencies should focus their review participation and ask tough probing questions about the assignment

The guidance notes that the most important consideration in conducting a review for a project-based assignment is to match the process to the opportunity.

Guidance Summary
When done well, project work can be an efficient way for clients to find new resources and for agencies to find new business opportunities.

The ANA/4A’s Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations task force report contains valuable principles for marketers and agencies. 4A’s recommends that agency management and business development leaders review the 4A’s/ANA project reviews guidance paper. Leverage the jointly developed “for clients” suggestions to discuss best practices with client prospects that are contemplating or beginning a review for a project assignment. Use the “for agencies” considerations to align your agency team on best practices for evaluating project review participation.

Tom Finneran
4A’s EVP, Agency Management Services

Download Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations

Download ANA/4A's Guidelines for Agency Search