How to choose an agency?
The first thing I’d like to query is the use of the term “suppliers” when discussing the agencies that we work with, regardless of whether they’re advertising, communications or branding agencies. Any person or team that we work with will have to be considered a partner, a collaborator, if we want the outcome to be successful. And as clients, our primary role involves taking responsibility for exciting and involving the agencies with our objectives so that they also take ownership of them, enabling us to feel like we’re all a part of the same team.
Traditionally, when choosing agencies, more formal factors are taken into account, such as:
- Previously completed projects
- Client portfolio
- Market knowledge
- Reputable creative team
- Conceptual capacity
- Creative ability
- Reliability with deadlines/fast work
However, if we consider agencies as part of our team, we will have to take many more variables into account, which may be even more important than the factors cited above. When we allow an agency into our work family, it must be able to share, care and fight for the same goals as us. They must be able to understand our vision and share in our project goals. And no less important in order for us to be able to work comfortably together on a daily basis is the need for the agency to share some of our team’s values. But do we know what our team’s values are?
All work teams have their own internal culture, their way of working, their operating engines that allow them to reach their objectives. Discovering and respecting team values will be of great benefit when integrating new collaborators, be they internal or external.
Any agency will have their own culture and their own values, but it will be a huge plus for the collaborative work if we know which values are shared or which values need to be added in order to reach the objectives that have been set for the project being worked on. Knowing what each value contributes in terms of human, operational, emotional and/or pragmatic capital will be key to ensuring the selected agency and the work are satisfactory.
And most important of all is the trust we place in the people we work with. Trusting their abilities to do their job and ensuring good communication will make everything much easier. And when we speak of trust, we’re talking about reliability, the ability to create a harmonious relationship and the mutual interest in the work done.
So as we can see, there’s much more to choosing an agency than just their track record; it also involves human capital and values. And I’m not only talking about the agency, but also about being aware of our own human capital and our values as clients. Finding the right fit always depends on all pieces of the puzzle wanting to be a part of the same final picture.
And based on my own experience, if we view the project, the objectives and the vision in the same way, then it means the human values are similar and that trust really exists. Working as a team with an agency becomes enjoyable and success is guaranteed!