How do you choose a communications agency?

by Helen on August 30, 2013

A good relationship can be built on many things, with trust and chemistry being two key components. Believe it or not, these two features are also crucial when choosing a communications agency to work with. The agency that you choose to work with is an extension of your business; therefore you need to trust them to represent your business to an excellent standard, and you need to have a good relationship with them so you can make the most of each other.

Here is our guide to ensuring that you select the right agency:

First up, you need to determine why you are looking for an agency and what type of agency you are looking for. Are you unsatisfied with your current one or do you not currently have one? Are you looking to accelerate your growth, redesign your brand or expand your market? If you know the answer to this question before begin your search it will help you select the agency that is right for you.

  • Choosing an agency to work with is a complex task, and should not be taken lightly. You need to do some research and develop a short list of agencies that you would like to talk to/meet with. Some good ways to do this would be via an online search, asking for recommendations from people who currently use an agency, or finding examples of work that you like and determining which agency was responsible for it.
  • A great relationship between client and agency is very important; it is therefore key to ensure that you have a dedicated individual within your company who will be working closely with the agency. Ideally this should be a member of your team who has marketing experience as well as the time and experience to work with the agency at a strategic level.
  • Determining a budget is also a key step before you meet with an agency. Although the agency will help you allocate your budget to various marketing activities, it is helpful in determining if the agency’s rates are within your budget.

 

 

 

Once you have confirmed what you are looking for, you are ready to begin the agency interview process!

 

  • Meeting with the agency is the next big step. It’s like a first date, you already know who they are and what they do, but now is your opportunity to really get to know them. It is a good idea to meet with the particular team you will be working with as this is the connection that matters.  They should be able to provide you with a good understanding of the agency, who they are, how long they have been in business, what services they provide and how they bill – along with any other information you want to know
  • Ask for case studies or examples of work they have done as this will give you an overview of how they think and how they approach and solve a problems.
  • If possible, steer away from a pitch process that involves the potential agencies coming up with speculative creative work. Creative work should be based on marketing goals and objectives, which all work together with the creative execution. Without this background knowledge the agencies will be unable to develop a solid piece of creative, and the end result will just be about appearance. While this may be a good representation of the creative executions they can produce, it won’t be illustrative of the strategy behind the BIG idea!
  • Other important things to take into consideration are; has the agency looked into your business? Are they excited by what you do? Are they passionate about working with you? If you can’t answer YES to all of these, the relationship is doomed to fail.
    Finally, as with many things in life, the chemistry between you and the people at the agency you will be working with needs to be right. You may be working closely with each other for some time and you need to feel confident and happy with the relationship. Remember these people will be an extension of your business and you and your team!

 

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