Maybe you want to launch a new product. Or perhaps it’s time for a brand refresh. Whatever the reason, choosing the right advertising agency can make all the difference to your success. An agency essentially functions as an extension of your team. You should be able to interact with them seamlessly and trust them completely.
There are many ways to go about finding a good ad agency. The following tips will streamline the process and help you get the most out of your agency relationship in 2021.
Advertising agencies come in all different sizes. There are pros and cons to working with large and small shops.
Large agencies usually have high caliber talent and abundant resources. But if you’re not a major brand or have a massive budget, you may not get the superstars working on your account. Large agencies sometimes pitch with the A-Team but often assign the B-Team to the account if you aren’t an enterprise brand.
While these agencies have grown largely because of their success, some have a reputation for not giving clients the attention they deserve.
By working with a smaller agency, you can team up with a senior-level talent for a fraction of the cost. Smaller agencies are also more nimble — they can usually move faster than large agencies and turnaround time can be quicker.
Small agencies have less corporate hierarchy and many specialize in particular industries or disciplines. They’re known to go above and beyond to ensure client satisfaction. At the same time, smaller agencies can lack bandwidth. However, bandwidth shortages are something that can be overcome with planning that can allow for staff additions.
Ad Age says when you hire an ad agency, you hire a culture. They recommend working with an agency that is collaborative, inventive, and proactive. We couldn’t agree more. You’ll be able to tell if you like an agency’s culture just by walking through its (virtual) doors.
Do you like their vision and philosophies? Do they seem like an enjoyable team to be around? At the same time, be sure to ask about their processes. Find out how the agency handles projects that are over deadline and budget.
In today’s remote work environment, culture can be harder to evaluate than 12 months ago. Think of it as you would any new employee hire. Check their social media accounts, blogs, and campaign credibility to ensure that you would have full confidence in their team representing your brand.
Ad agencies are built around people, so choose an ad agency with people you like. You’re trusting them to help you sell your products and services to your target audience. You’ll be working with them a lot, so make sure they’re a group of people you wouldn’t mind having a beer with. In the end, your gut will tell you if they’re worth working with.
What about deep category experience? For instance, if you work in healthcare, should you choose an agency with experience in your industry? What if you are a quickly growing outdoor brand? The answer depends on what you’re looking for.
If you want an agency that’s already familiar with your industry — one that can hit the ground running when you give them their first assignment — you might go with selecting an ad agency within your niche.
However, if you’re looking for a fresh perspective or picking an advertising agency that won’t bring any bias with it, choosing a shop that has limited experience in your industry could become a blessing.
Whatever you do, choose an agency whose work you admire. If their body of work doesn’t wow you, move on – no matter their reputation. Look at both concept and design when evaluating their portfolio. Is the graphic design timeless or trendy? Does the copywriting move you to action? Does their branding strategy work align with your goals?
The bottom line, the agency’s work should be memorable. The ideas should make you think, “Wow, I wish I would’ve thought of that.” Keep in mind the average person sees between 6,000 – 10,000 ads per day (up from 2015 figures), so the work needs to make a statement.
As consumers are being served more ads per day than ever before, creativity has become even more important. This is true in website design, a TikTok campaign, and an overall marketing strategy. Your customers have become numb to the one size fits all campaigns making the creative campaigns stand out from the rest.
Without a doubt, a lot goes into choosing the right advertising agency. There’s no right or wrong way to pick the shop that’s right for you. It’s worth the effort to find the best agency.
Here are a few of our recommended questions to ask yourself to help with hiring an ad agency.
Do their values align with our mission?
Will the team that we just spoke with be our day to day team?
Would I look forward to our team calls?
Is direct experience important to me?
Is industry or discipline (design, branding, etc.) experience more important?
How do they handle things if something goes wrong?
Which of their projects excites me the most?
Are they thinking outside the box or along with the status quo?
What examples can I provide them to test creativity?
Remember, whichever agency you hire will function as part of your team and you should be able to trust them with any project. By asking these questions and hiring for long-term relationships you’ll be off to a great start.