10 Feb 2019

Agreement, approval

Writing for clients can be a revealing exercise, especially when it comes to what we clumsily call ‘approval.’

When we send draft text to clients, we so often find ourselves drowning in a sea of feedback from multiple individuals, all with their equally valid opions.

I realized that we usually invite clients to *approve* the text, which means “Do you think it is right?” In fact, we want them to consider something more abstract, along the lines of “Do you agree the messaging/strategy?” Put another way, we want clients to agree *among themselves.*

In a perfect world, the strategy would be agreed before we start writing. But the cracks in strategy often only appear when put down in writing, so I’m not going down that perfect-world route.

So what’s the game behind Agreement vs Approval?

Here’s the analogy: in sport you can agree your game plan EVEN IF YOU THINK IT’S A SILLY IDEA [ie you disapprove], because the only way to test the idea is to execute it fully [ie you agree to the plan]. If you win, then stick with the plan; if you lose, think again.

In marketing terms, the aim is to *agree* your go-to-market strategy EVEN IF YOU THINK IT’S A SILLY IDEA [ie you disapprove], because the only way to test for success or failure is to execute the strategy. If the strategy succeeds, stick with it; if it fails, formulate and agree a new strategy.

The first step is to agree, and the second – almost irrelevant – step is to approve.

Toby Chapman-Dawe toby.chapman-dawe@strand-uk.com