Get yourself some ‘elevator syndrome’. (It’s good!)

Here’s an unusual way to think about the performance of your agency and your relationship with agencies a little differently:

I once had a client who said, “your agency is very good at ‘elevator syndrome’…”

Said client went on to explain that ‘elevator syndrome‘ is the feeling you want to have when leaving your agency after a meeting: The elevator doors close and the feels relieved (knows) that whatever brief they’ve left in the agency’s hands, is going to be solved by the very best minds – and your needs, wants, objectives and results are all given every effort to succeed.

I explained the idea of ‘elevator syndrome‘ to a client recently, who asked, ‘that’s exactly what I’m looking for – and I don’t have it with my current agency – is that a bad thing?

And that got me thinking. When it comes down to it, ‘elevator syndrome‘ is really another way of expressing the ‘wow‘ factor and defining your relationship with your agency as ‘exceptional‘ rather than just ‘OK‘.

To really feel like your agency is giving you and your business elevator syndrome, you need to feel you’re hitting home runs on some (or all) of these attributes:


No surprise, here, but if your agency is hitting home runs on strategic thinking, they’re a candidate for elevator syndrome. Great thinking that translates into a bullet-proof strategy is gold.

Out of the box thinking

Holistic thinking can be a leading indicator of elevator syndrome – particularly when most marketers are looking for media agnostic thinking with flexibility for application across different media.


In some cases, reaction time and speed are essential to feeling you’ve got elevator syndrome. Most marketers want to see shorter lead and execution times, but occasionally things have to move much faster.

Noise (or lack thereof)

Sometimes client requests or requirements can seem complex and onerous – but they’ve still got to get executed.  If the agency can subsequently react, support and deliver without with just a quiet hum of efficiency, the more clients typically feel they have elevator syndrome.


Flexibility can be a crucial metric for elevator syndrome because most marketers require flexibility from their agencies when plans change. And they do. (Frequently).


Particularly when you’ve got multiple agencies on your roster, you want to be sure you’ve got an environment for collaboration of ideas and solutions, without the risk of turf wars along the way.


And of course… this is where strategy, creative and execution all have to pay the proverbial piper, and when results become the ultimate factor in contributing to elevator syndrome.

Elevator syndrome may sound odd, but it’s a unique and innovative way of looking at – and evaluating – your performance within your agency relationships.  Which attributes do you value most?  Which do you wish you could improve? And does your agency give you elevator syndrome?


Stephan Argent is Founder and Principal at Listenmore Inc  offering confidential advisory to marketers looking for truly independent insight and advice they can’t find anywhere else. Read more like this on our blog Marketing Unscrewed / follow me @StephanArgent

Photo: vistavision

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