Hiring in a creative agency
1. Don't limit your search geographically. Yes, the most expedient way to build trust is in face-to-face relationships, but that doesn't mean trust can't also be built across miles. After all, some of...
1. Don't limit your search geographically. Yes, the most expedient way to build trust is in face-to-face relationships, but that doesn't mean trust can't also be built across miles. After all, some of the strongest marriages have been built after long periods of physical separation which allow time for reflection for both parties about what really matters.
Keep in mind that what you're looking for is the correct fit; restricting your search from the outset to a defined geographic area is unnecessarily limiting. If you had a legal problem that a specialist across the country could solve, you'd be crazy to limit your search to only those firms that are most convenient. With the amount of money you're likely spending on advertising, the stakes are just as high.
2. Don't screen out agencies based on size. If you're a small company, you shouldn't rule out big agencies; sure, you may not be a huge profit center for them but perhaps you represent a new industry they are interested in or a chance to do award-winning work. Maybe they have the precise expertise you need hidden in one of their account groups.
Similarly, larger clients shouldn't exclude small agencies from their consideration. Consider how small agencies develop. Talented people enter the business working for an established agency. The good ones grow with the agency. The great ones move up and eventually run the agency. And the really great ones think: "I can do this better myself" and go off to start their own shops. It's a continuous cycle of renewal, one reason why agencies at the top of the heap tend to change fairly often.
Talented people at the helm of small agencies are likely to have more experience than the mid-level staffers that would be assigned to your account at a big firm. Services not offered by the agency can be outsourced, and scale can be bought. It's the attention and ideas that matter.
3. Don't make industry experience a requirement. What most brands need is to increase differentiation from competitors, and agencies with a lot of category experience might be subject to industry group-think. No agency will ever know as much as you do about your industry, so you should hire them for what they do know: the art of marketing and communications.
One of the things I love about being in the advertising business is the cross-pollination of ideas gained from working across a variety of industries. Every industry is unique, but they all share common characteristics. Often what we learn serving a client in one industry triggers a fresh idea for a client in another.
Will an agency that doesn't know your industry face a learning curve? Certainly, and perhaps a steep one. But if you find the right partner that learning curve will quickly shrink as it disappears into the rearview mirror of a successful relationship. If you want something different, go with somebody different.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Innes Fresco has no end of experience in writing about printing services for the likes of http://www.appleprint.co.uk/creative-services.aspx and others.