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How many f***s do you give your client?

Mahesh Neelakantan is CEO of Newton Malaysia & Strategic Investor in Newton Lanka. 

In MARKETING Magazine’s mid-February issue, Mahesh Neelakantan talks about the ways for agencies to rate the clients they have.

A while back at the Malaysia CMO conference, I was witness to a presentation by Aprais and it was quite interesting. I mean the entire ‘client-agency’ evaluation and the benefits associated with the exercise are worth it. But honestly – how many do it – and even if they do it, is it a meaningful exercise?

What If there was a simpler way for agencies to rate the clients they have. And Vice Versa.

Introducing the 3 F’s.



FAME – is very simply defined as the potential that the brand/client has to attract fame, stand for the kind of work that will make the agency famous – flaunt it in their showreel and showcase it. And of course – the potential it has to win creative and effective awards.




FORTUNE – is very simply the MONEY client. And it’s not just the size of the account – but more in terms of profitability in terms of time/resources spent vs fee earned.





FUN is simply Fun. Is the agency having fun or are the people working on the business having fun. Are the clients fun people to work with?





IF a Client ticks all 3 F ’s: Absolute Nirvana – Love them, Nurture them, Invest in them. Don’t ever let them leave. They are the best clients ever.

Any 2 F’s.
1. Fame & Fortune – you can always try and loosen them up. And if they still don’t, hey – it’s worth the money and they bring you fame.
2. Fame & Fun – the lack of fortune is acceptable, as the fame will help you bring in more fortune.
3. Fortune & Fun – it’s all about the money.. And having fun while making it.

Any F. At least you know where they stand and you can look to upgrade them to 2 Fs.

If your client/account does not get any F – then maybe it’s time to embrace the 4th F.
Fire each other.

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