We all know its more important than ever to get the most out of your marketing dollars, and to do so you must get great creative from your agency. But in today’s frenetic world, many have lost the art of making it happen. Here are some important tips:
- Get the “A Team” on your business. In my experience, every agency has their “A” talent, and their B/C talent. Its important to get their strongest performers on your account- even if you have to go to a smaller agency to do so. The A team at a regional agency typically is more creative, experienced, and talented than the C team at a national player.
- Take the time upfront to brief the Agency on your business situation, objectives, and most importantly, your target consumer. A holistic understanding of the situation will lead to better creative and more insight.
- While its worthwhile to work collaboratively on the creative process, it is critical to have a single clear decisionmaker. This is important for a couple reasons. First, having multiple decisionmakers tends to lead to the work getting “dumbed down” to the least common denominator. Second, agency creatives don’t make advertising for companies, they make it for people- that’s why its important for the client to get to know both the account team and the creatives.
- Do consumer research up front with the brand team, the account team, and the creatives. This allows you to understand consumers together, gain consumer insights together, bounce ideas off each other, and build a relationship with the key players.
- You’ll get better work if you treat the agency like a partner on your business, rather than as a supplier.
- Be media agnostic. Work with the agency to determine what specific media vehicles will best accomplish the objectives of the project.
- Write a clear, concise creative brief. The most important elements of this document are the target consumer, the brand benefit, key consumer insight(s), and the brand personality.
- Ask to see a range of work. This allows you to get some “safe” work that is comfortable and on point, but likely not “breakthrough”, as well as some options which scare you because they are higher risk, but potentially higher reward. If it’s a major project, you may want to have multiple creative teams providing work.
- Give the agency enough time to do great work. Most of us are linear thinkers, and are by nature, impatient. But the creative process works best when the creative have enough time to consider a broad range of directions.
- Listen. When the agency presents their work, listen and ask questions to be sure you clearly understand the inspiration behind the work.
- When commenting on work, speak in terms of objectives, not tactics. Nothing drives a creative crazy more than a client saying, “can we use this font, or this specific color”. A more appropriate comment would be, “I’m finding the current font difficult to read, can you consider other options which pop better?”
- Throw them a bone. If the agency feels very strongly about work that you are lukewarm on, go ahead and include it in testing. You may be surprised how consumers react to it, and at the least, it shows you respect the agency’s expertise and are willing to work together. (Important note: this does not mean you should produce subpar work, it does mean that if the agency feels particularly strongly about a particular direction, you should get some consumer feedback on it.)
- Celebrate success! Once you have worked together to develop powerful work that builds your brand, show genuine appreciation to your agency partners by celebrating success together.
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I welcome your thoughts and insights.