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Knowledge is Power: Why It Pays to Know Your Agencies’ Core Capabilities

Posted By: SGK June 09, 2016

When your organization decides it needs to improve its agency selection process, there are a few key questions to keep in mind throughout evaluation. If you’ve already done the work of creating classifications that link design assignments with the highest level of strategic thinking and have determined the level of strategy needed, next, our Continuous Improvement Practice recommends identifying and understanding your agencies’ core capabilities.

This goes beyond just working with your account manager -- you should also know, or at least meet, the creative team. To help pick your perfect creative collaboration partner, here are a few crucial agency history questions you should ask:

  1. How has the agency grown or expanded their capabilities over the years? For example, did they start as an industrial design agency and are now expanding into graphic design?
  2. What are their roots – how does the agency promote itself?
  3. Are they experienced in your industry?
  4. Do they focus more on short-term goals, or are they working toward an on-going relationship?

This investigation helps reveal their core expertise.

But beyond agency history, know the creative team who will be working on your account including their background and other accounts they support – does the creative team have a positive reputation with these other account? Evaluate the agencies’ body of work, understanding key contributions they make to the creative assignment. For instance, did they simply take the advertising concept and adapt it to the package or FSI execution, or did they generate the strategy and creative idea?

It’s also important to evaluate the stack up in terms of agency spend and production requirements – are you the biggest or smallest client? By knowing this, you can ensure the agency of your choosing has the bandwidth and technical ability to meet your requirements on time, and most importantly, you will love the output.

After you feel confident and informed about the agency’s history and core competencies, build and create your organization’s agency roster, and be sure to make it clear to the organization who should be engaged for different creative assignments.

For more tips on how to match the right agency with the right creative job, download our latest whitepaper: The Right Fit: 5 Tips to Help You Match the Right Agency with the Right Creative Job