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5 Ways That Effective Marketers Choose Branding Agencies

Here are 5 ways that effective marketers choose branding agencies: Ask around.

5 Ways That Effective Marketers Choose Branding Agencies

Posted Monday October 13th, 2014 by in Analysis + Strategy.

One great side effect of being a branding and advertising agency is that we get to know our clients very, very well. The Chief Marketing Officers and VP’s of Marketing that we work with on a daily basis talk to us sometimes more than ten times daily, depending on what campaigns are running at the time. Since remarkable branding and advertising takes so much perspective and understanding, we spend countless hours getting to know our clients on a personal level.

What we can confidently say is that CMO’s and VP’s work extraordinarily long hours, and juggle not only the branding initiative at hand but workplace politics, metrics reporting, and the inescapable pressure of having to produce measurable results. Here are 5 ways that effective marketers choose branding agencies:

  1. Ask around. A Google search turns up the slickest search engine results, but a personal referral can give you insight into how the agency really works. Because you will be working on a daily basis with your agency, there are many more elements to consider than just ROI. How quickly do they respond? How calm are they under pressure? How much do they understand the politics you navigate to make your initiatives happen?
  2. Explore an agency’s website . It will give you an idea of how clear they are about messaging; how much effort they put into UI and UX; what their capabilities are, and what their results have been. This will solve all of your “what can they do for me” questions, but lacks the human element. So, that leads us to…
  3. Invite at least 3 agencies to pitch you. Less than 3 will leave out potentially great options, while more than 3 can get difficult to decipher. Be clear about what you expect the agencies to present; some will give you a capabilities overview, and some will go the extra mile by providing an analysis of your business and perhaps even some creative. If you asked for creative, great! But if you didn’t, don’t jump to the conclusion that the agency who put in the most work is zealous and therefore automatically the best option. Why? Because, after you’re a client, you should feel comfortable knowing that the agency is managing your creative, instead of spending time on creative for companies that are just being pitched. An agency sells time, and you want their time to be spent on you while you’re a client! If an agency values its own time, chances are they’ll value yours. Look for balance here, and make sure you analyze the agency’s ability to listen carefully to your instructions and requests.
  4. Balance history carefully. Many times, companies ask for agencies that have performed work within their vertical. Buyer beware! This is a dangerous path that can lead to work done for you that is recycled from other clients. Few agencies mean to commit this kind of regurgitation, but it is sometimes inevitable. Think about it – you see work for another company in your vertical that you like. Now it’s in your mind, and you expect something like it. It’s in their minds, because they created it, and because they created it, chances are they love it. If an agency you’re exploring has multiple verticals, it can cross-pollinate ideas and concepts for the benefit of all. Weigh history, but don’t make it your deciding factor.
  5. Explore your value-added potential. Is the agency in question a good community player, which will pay dividends in your own brand equity? Is the agency growing rapidly, signaling good work or leadership? Is the agency producing technologies from which you and other clients can benefit? Will the agency be outsourcing any of its work, which may increase your overall cost and create opportunities for the proverbial ball to get dropped? All of these answers can be good indicators of your future relationship.

When you choose an agency, go all in. You should have done your due diligence, and you should feel confident that the agency will not only produce great creative, but that it will function as a communications partner, a sounding board, and a generally supportive source of perspective for all of the difficult things you do on a daily basis.

Great agencies do great work; remarkable agencies also make your life easier and better!

Finding a great branding agency can be as much a gut-call than a logical choice, since a remarkable agency will become one of your best assets as an effective marketer. What about your own story? Feel free to share your thoughts about your own methods for finding a remarkable agency!


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