All ad agencies are essentially the same. That’s probably going to see me vilified by the end of the day – particularly by my colleagues who work at ad agencies. But before you reach for the pitchforks and flaming torches, just hear me out.
All ad agencies are essentially the same. I mean, we all do the same thing – just to varying degrees of success and competence. So why should you choose one agency over another?
If you answered “Because agency X has won more awards than agency Y”, then you, my fine feather-headed friend, are the reason there are sayings about fools and their money. Choosing an agency based on the number of awards they’ve won is like choosing a cardiac surgeon based on his car.
The thing that sets one agency apart from the rest is the way they treat you (and your brand) as a client. I’m not talking about the sushi-lunches and the parties. I’m talking about the way your agency works for your brand.
Does your agency create effective solutions to your business problems? Are they proactive (“We found this and thought it might work for you…”) or reactive (“What do you want us to do now ?”)? And have you ever met the writers/designers that work on your brand? You should. It’s these guys and not the suits-and-tie folks who take you on sushi-lunches, who are working for you.
By the way, the TANSTAAFL principle applies like no other in the advertising industry. Yes, you’re paying for those sushi-lunches. You just don’t know it.
Finally, when you’re choosing an agency, don’t ask for their credentials or their portfolio. Ask for a client list – past and present. And then go and interview those clients (especially those that don’t work with the agency) about their relationships with the agency. This will give you a better idea about the agency you’re considering employing.
OK, then..flaming torches at the ready? You may fire when ready.