The Voice of the Underdog®
Yesterday, we looked at the first four questions you need to ask before choosing a new ad agency partner, or a new client if you’re an agency.
Just to recap, they were:
1. Historically, have they done good work that’s gotten results?
2. Are they like you and do they share your values?
3. Are they collaborative?
4. Is senior leadership involved in your business?
Here are the three final questions to consider in your quest to find the right partner.
5. Are all the team members great communicators?
Even when clients and agencies are at their best, clear, concise, and effective communication can be tough. An email gets sent where a phone call would have been better. A phone call gets made but there’s no one home, which leads to an incomplete voice message. Everyone’s moving at the speed of light and everything’s on a deadline. Oh, and everyone’s schedule makes meeting face to face nearly impossible.
On both sides of the pitch process, there are numerous opportunities to gauge the quality of communication from the people with whom you’ll be working. On the agency side, is the RFP well put together? Is it clear and concise? Are your communications from the client clear and well written? On the client side, how did the agency respond to the RFP? Did they clearly answer what was asked? How was their correspondence? Was there correspondence? Did they send a follow-up letter or a thank you note for including the agency in the pitch? Look closely at the correspondence surrounding a pitch, and you can learn a lot about what you can expect from your new partners.
6. What is the vibe in the client’s office and at the agency?
This may not seem that important considering you’re only going to spend a fraction of your time together in the other’s space. The thing is, your time together isn’t what you should be thinking about. It’s what kind of environment your partner is working in the 95% of the time you’re apart. When a client goes to an agency, what’s the vibe you pick up from the people? Are they happy? Cheerful? Energetic? Glad to see you? Or, are they stuck in dark corners looking stressed and unhappy? Do you hear music playing? Is there a dog or two running around? What kind of art is on the wall and have people personalized their workspace? Agency people ask the same questions when visiting client offices. Be observant. Note what you see and what you feel. Those are the environments the people you’re counting on have to work in 45–60 hours a week. Is it a space to inspire greatness, or one you can’t wait to get out of?
7. Have they done for themselves what they say they can do for you?
Question seven is just for the clients and may be the most important question you can ask. Nothing is more exciting to an agency than a pitch and the chance to build or rebuild a brand. But as you seek out the agency to best help you develop your brand, ask yourself this—has that agency done the same for themselves? Do they have a clear point of differentiation? Are they unique in what they offer? Do they have a consistent look, tone, and feel and have they been successful building their brand over time? It may seem obvious, but when you’re putting your brand into review, it’s the first and easiest place to look for results. It’s one thing for an agency to say they can deliver. It’s another for you to look and see they already have.
We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.