Ask anyone in our industry and they’ll tell you the worst thing you can possibly hope to become is an agency without any clients.

But at Major Tom, we’re launching without a single client on our roster, and we’re proud of it.

That’s not to say that we don’t have a phenomenal collection of businesses and organizations that we work with, because obviously, we do.

Instead, it’s that in our bid to change people’s perspective on what they can expect from a modern agency, we’ve decided to change the way we talk about the people we do business with too.

Partners not clients

It’s not just made-up agency speak or something that’s going to look catchy on our website – although the fact you’re reading this suggests that it has at least piqued your interest – it’s just that the word ‘client’ doesn’t truly describe how we work.

You see, “client” suggests that the other side of the relationship is filled by a “vendor”. Inherently, that relationship is transactional. And that just doesn’t sit right with us.

A partner, on the other hand, is something entirely different.

A partner is someone that you work closely with, someone that you invest in, collaborate with, and share the same common goals as. It’s someone who knows you inside and out, who’ll challenge you, support you, and help you to get to where you want to go. A partner gives a shit, the same way that you do.

That’s why we’re an agency with a roster of partners, not clients. It may sound like a small distinction but for us it strikes to the very core of who we are, what we do and why we’re doing it.

Desmond Tutu once wrote that “Language does not describe reality. Language shapes reality.” By changing the language we use to talk about our work we can change the nature of the work itself.

After all, the traditional relationship that exists between organizations and agencies is, by nature, restrictive. There is a limitation to the kind of value that a vendor can provide to their client.

But with a partner there is unlimited potential – you’re investing in each other, moving away from buying time and expertise and instead focussing on building something together.

What is a partner

Our vetting process for the organizations we work with is every bit as extensive as theirs is when they’re looking for an agency.

Why? It’s because who we work with is important to us.

We don’t just want to build you a great website, shift the needle on your SEO or get your social media dialed in. We want to find the right marketing mix that will help you to reach your overall objectives, no matter what combination of technologies and tactics it takes to get you there.

For us, it’s about getting to know every aspect of your organization, about investing in the relationship so that we can fully understand where you are and where you want to go before we even begin to talk about how we are going to help you to get there.

I suppose you could say that we’re looking for meaningful relationships. We don’t just want to swap numbers with you – we want to make you a mixtape, meet your parents, and end up with our own drawer in your apartment.

What we’re trying to say is that we’re here to work with you, not for you. A small distinction that makes a big difference to who we are, what we do, and why we do it.