By reviewing agency case-studies on their website you can see the projects they have worked on, who they have worked with and what they can offer you. Questions to consider when looking at this stage are:
- Have they worked on similar-sized projects to yours?
- Do they have similar types of client to you?
- Have they, or do they, work with any of your competitors?
- What sort of experience do they have?
- Can you get a feel for who they are?
- Can you get more information if you need to?
- How effective is their work? Do they show results?
Talent and Creative Work
Creativity is both a process and a skill. It solves problems and takes in the generation of relevant ideas first, then a wave of novel ideas that in a creative agency may need to support advertising, marketing, and digital initiatives.
A good agency creative director, will be bold and imaginative but also ambitious and hands-on. Roles in an agency may cover designers, copywriters, art directors, strategists, planners and web developers. Some may have all these in-house, whilst others will outsource parts of your project if they do not have the skills in-house. You may need to consider confidentiality if your agency needs to outsource. It may also mean they can’t turn projects around as quickly.
There could be design agencies right on your doorstep, and if you are a small local business, you may decide that regular face-to-face meetings need to be within physical reach. Consider how far you’re willing to travel on a regular basis for meetings with your agency, be it Greater London, the Midlands or the North East. Adjust your location-based keyword searches to reflect this.
Frequent meetings with account managers and designers play a major role in avoiding the miscommunication that can happen when people are translating your goals into measurable creativity. However, technology means you also have the option to choose an agency anywhere, so you don’t have to let geography limit your choice.
Size & Capacity
The size of an agency team is also a point to bear in mind when deciding on an agency. Whilst working with freelancers can have a number of benefits, they can also be hard to track down if anything goes wrong.
Working with an agency instead of a one-man-band gives you increased security and access to a much larger creative pool. A larger team can come up with more ideas for your requirements, and you can utilise their experience across multiple specialisms. This means you will have more options to choose from, and a whole host of new ideas to consider. This will keep your marketing fresh, and help you make a real impact.
If you have a particular business challenge choosing your agency based on their expertise and capabilities in a specific sector such as Agriculture, Public Sector, Education or Finance means they will better understand your audience and help you build a powerful mix of marketing to set you apart from your competition.
How well the team will work for, and with you, is the next thing to consider. If you are meeting face to face as part of an initial ‘chemistry’ meeting, you may get a good vibe for this. Will the senior management and the design team spend time getting to understand your brand and your company? Without a collaborative way of working, you can’t be sure that work produced will really fit your brand values. The agency you choose should be able to take on board your ideas and help you bring your brand to life.
How to choose a design or digital agency – Part 3