The moment has come. You need to find a creative agency to handle advertising efforts for your brand. Decision makers gave their nod of approval. Finance gave you the numbers. Now it’s time to deliver.
The agency you choose should identify not just what type of marketing campaigns and placements, but immerse themselves in your brand. Whether it be a short or long-term project, your agency partner ultimately holds the key to unlocking the success of your brand.
But there are so many agencies out there you say. How can I possibly take the time to meet all of them and pick the best?
The ball is in your court. How you select the right agency is an intricate process, so here are seven ways to know if an agency is right for your campaign.
1. Talk to Your Network
Recommendations come in all shapes and sizes. When asking your network for referrals, think about who you’re asking.
Do they work in a similar industry?
Were their campaign goals similar?
Can you look at the work they did?
2. Know Your Objective
You can’t play blackjack blind. Before you begin your agency selection process, have your campaign objectives in place. Beyond the metrics, what are you trying to accomplish?
Are you seeking a brand relaunch to bring back customers?
Launching a new product or service in a competitive environment?
Building anticipation for an upcoming event?
Knowing the details of your target audience and how you want your brand perceived by them is essential for your chosen agency to know.
In 2017, Battery worked with Mike’s Harder Lemonade to develop the “What’s Out There Starts Here” campaign to promote the products to males 25+.
By defining their target audience and Battery’s use of consumer-minded insights, a successful campaign was launched that was both relevant and humorous to the segment, leading to industry-best sales in the Flavored Malt Beverage category.
3. Does it Feel Right
If you’ve met with an agency already or planning to soon, did the employees at the agency understand your objectives?
When an agency is experienced in the type of campaign you’re launching, they should be able to offer valuable insights about your target audience. Additionally, they should be able to understand how those integrate with your brand.
Warner Bros Interactive partnered with Battery for their Lego Dimensions launch campaign. Launching into an already saturated market with a three-year head start is not a task easily undertaken. Understanding the way children view the world around them, Battery developed a campaign pushing Lego Dimensions into the top position of the segment.
“From the moment we first heard Battery’s campaign direction we knew they had captured the endless possibilities of the brand in a way that speaks perfectly to our multiple targets. We were in!”
— Stephanie Johnson, VP Global Marketing, LEGO Franchise
A significant amount of time may be required in the creative and strategic brainstorming processes. When there are tight deadlines, these processes are often the first ones to be cut short.
Give your chosen agency the time they require to meet your campaign objectives. The type of agency you want to work with will likely be honest in saying they cannot meet your deadlines. When agencies crunch time to meet deadlines, your brand will be the one to suffer.
*The important note here is that the right agency for your campaign will understand deadlines and have a history of delivering on time. Deadlines should be concrete once a project is agreed upon. When they don’t deliver, you should have explanations in advance.
4. Do You Need a Boutique Agency or a Big-Name?
Technology has nearly eliminated the gap between agencies and clients. Choosing an agency is a decision based on the understanding of objectives and how to best reach them.
TP-LINK launched a major US video advertising campaign and chose to partner with Battery. With an already exceptional product line, Battery went to work and built the campaign with zero room for error. The deadlines were far too tight.
“Their understanding of our wide consumer base, from families to gamers, was unparalleled. We then tapped into them again to launch an OOH campaign across multiple cities that they executed from concept to completion in less than 3 weeks! We look forward to continuing our work together to support our product launches and our brand.”
— Crystal Whitcomb, Director of Marketing TP-LINK
Not all boutique agencies have the intimate feel you may expect, while there are large agencies that will make you feel like their only client. Choose your agency based on fit for the project, not their name.
5. Who’s Who in the Agency
Before going into a meeting, understand who you’ll be talking to.
What have they accomplished in their career?
Is it relevant to what you’re seeking for your campaign?
Do they know and understand the vision of the agency?
Does the team seem diversified in creativity and ideas?
What is the average employee tenure at the agency?
When you meet with a potential agency, you should attempt to meet as many employees as you can. These are the minds behind your brand’s future. Ask questions and get a feel for personality, drive, and attitude.
Ultimately, teamwork makes the dream work. When you believe in the entire team, you’ll spend more time excited in anticipation of the next draft than stressed out wondering if the agency is going to deliver a home run.
Communication is the backbone of any relationship. Are you comfortable with the communication style of agency you’ve contacted?
Are they quick to respond to your questions?
Do they respect your best contact method (call, email, etc)?
Is the level of professionalism comfortable for you?
How are strategic and creative decisions made?
Does the agency meet your expectations of involvement?
When building a campaign of any size, the flow of information should be free in both directions. You should promptly answer requests of the agency and progress updates should come regularly to keep you informed.
Beware of agencies that talk about how great they are during their pitch. The pitch should be more about understanding your brand and how the agency will use their past experience with “X” campaign and implement their creative ideas with your objectives to deliver a winning strategy.
When Battery partnered with Skyrocket to launch “The World is Now game,” it was an immediate connection. After learning about the brand and their campaign objectives, Battery delivered a presentation that represented the combined vision of what the campaign should be.
“From brand strategy and positioning to the development of THE WORLD IS NOW GAME campaign, Battery was a true partner. They landed the big idea in the very first presentation, pushing boundaries creatively and helping to bring the Recoil revolution to life.”
— Craig Mitchell, SVP of Marketing, Skyrocket
Skyrocket was ecstatic. It was a simple equation of shared vision, creativity, and execution. Relationships work best when communication is clear.
7. Your Budget
More of a warning than a best practice; do not choose your agency based on a price point. When you have the right feeling about the employees at the agency, they embrace your objectives, and show genuine excitement about the project, negotiate the deal. That agency may be below, at, or above your budget. You’ll likely see a significant return on investment working with them. They need to be the agency for your next campaign.