Whenever we start a custom project with a new client there are a few questions we always want answered.
The first has to do with knowing the scope of our involvement in their communications. Some organizations call us with the intention of having us work with them on solely on a given project: an ad, an annual report or a website. Others, invite us into a broader view where we become involved in all communications, bringing quality and consistency to the look-and-feel of that organization's communications.
The second question we need to answer surrounds the nature of the relationship...whether we'll be collaborators or order-takers.
Our clients are always involved in the process to some degree. At the end of the day, although we have a lot of experience in communications, no one is going to know an organization and it's audience(s) better than the organization itself, so there's never really an option for us to simply run the project on our own.
But some organizations want us to come in and collaborate, to become part of their team, and others simply want us to drive the process, taking directives and providing deliverables on time and on budget. Although we always prefer to work as part of the team (collaborate) because we believe it sets both parties up for a win in the bigger picture, both are methods of working that we engage in.
As the client, it's important to think ahead when you are considering hiring a third-party vendor for your communications needs. Get a sense of how you want to work with them and communicate that early. It's a first step to setting both parties up for a win.