So, you’ve started a new business venture and need a brand identity or you are an existing multinational looking at rebranding. How do you choose the right agency to partner with? One that has your best interests at heart, that can deliver above expectations and that you can trust to help navigate a project towards success?
Often, the process seems straightforward. For start-ups and small- to medium-sized businesses, you search for local agencies that offer the services you need or you ask a friend to recommend someone. For larger companies and organisations, you search for top agencies, create a shortlist of candidates, send out a RFP, narrow the list down even further, have the relevant meetings and make a decision from there.
However, if you truly understand what a brand encompasses, how a brand shapes your business and communicates to your audiences, no matter the size, then you already know that you cannot afford to hand responsibility over to an agency based on the most cost-effective proposal or flashiest of credentials.
At The Creative Café, we pride ourselves on building partnerships, friendships and lasting relationships that are fostered by trust, transparency, understanding and execution. Our purpose as a creative agency is to drive engagement, enabling brands and people to fall in love with each other. For us to be able to deliver and achieve our purpose, we need our clients to have a clear understanding of our service offering, our skill-set, our work ethic, experience and knowledge.
We believe that in order to achieve success and deliver above expectations, there needs to be a cultural, emotional and functional fit between agency and client.
Here are 5 questions worth asking before choosing an agency to partner with:
Does the agency understand your industry?
Don’t immediately eliminate a ‘good fit’ agency due to a lack of industry-specific experience. An agency doesn’t need to have extensive understanding of your exact field, but a familiarity with your industry, your solutions, target audience and channels of communication will help simplify the on-boarding process and accelerate the partnership.
Hiring an agency that has a good track record and experience across a broad spectrum of industries can be beneficial.
Have they worked with other companies your size?
Companies of different sizes have different requirements. Multinationals need massive employee engagement programmes and multichannel campaigns. Their brand architecture can be complicated and challenging. These clients might have the big budgets, but they also have the biggest demands. As for start-ups and smaller businesses, they bring along a different set of challenges. Often, they don’t have the internal resources or expertise to conceptualise, develop and articulate their brand identity or develop campaigns to drive awareness, brand recognition and assist in developing an online presence. These companies might need additional marketing guidance with their day-to-day operations.
Look for an agency that provides the same dedication, attention to detail and engagement with smaller companies as they do with larger organisations.
“During your initial engagement, do they try and sell their services or do they spend the time trying to better understand your business? In short, is their pitch focused on what they do or on what you do?”
Is there a cultural fit?
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘ culture eats strategy for breakfast’. This applies to your chosen agency as much as it applies to your business. Look for an agency that has a track record of long-term client relationships. Look for an agency that makes their employees and specialists readily available to you. Look for an agency that involves their staff during your initial engagement – especially those creatives who will prove key in developing your brand image and messaging.
An agency’s level of commitment to you and your business goals will depend on how the agency’s own ethics, values and culture fits into yours
Do you like what they’ve created or showcased?
An agency will always present their best work first, so take a closer look at their entire portfolio. Do they have the ability to develop a consistent look and feel, tone and messaging across multiple channels? Is their work visually appealing, exciting and engaging? Do they possess the ability to push the creative envelope, but also know when to use restraint and be more conservative? Do they have the ability to differentiate between brands, creating unique collateral and messaging within specific market segments?
At the end of the day, you want an agency that truly understands your business, your brand, your people and your audience.
Do you even like them?
This may sound somewhat odd or irrelevant, but if you don’t ‘click’ with an agency during the initial engagement process, chances are working with them will be no picnic either. An agency might tick all the boxes already mentioned, but if something still doesn’t sit well, building a good working relationship may prove harder than expected. Factors such as enthusiasm, friendliness, responsiveness, respect and overall professionalism are all important to consider, as is an inviting, creative and comfortable work environment. An agency’s likeability contributes far more to a working relationship than you may realise; sometimes more than a fancy list of clients, credentials and accolades.
Ask yourself: “Can I see myself spending a lot of time with these people and actually enjoying it?”
“The best agency is the one that’s as excited as you are, no matter the size or nature of your business.”
Of course, there is more to consider before making a decision as to whether or not to partner with a particular agency. Ultimately you want an agency that delivers exceptional work, that continuously exceeds expectations, challenges the norm and creates collateral that drives engagement and creates extraordinary experiences. Simple as that.
If you would like to know more about our emotionally charged, creative video productions and how we can assist you in engaging with your targeted audiences at a different level, give us a call or drop us a message by clicking the link below:
We are also available to engage via several platforms, including:
Skype | Zoom | Mobile | Whatsapp
We would love to hear your vision and assist you in growing your brand. Give us a call or send us a message using the form: