5 Tips To Help Match The Right Agency With The Right Creative Job
Organizations both large and small are tasked with making the most of their marketing dollars, challenged to do more with less and faster than before. Within these tight budgets, agency spend always ranks high. Therefore, improving the agency selection process, which is usually missing or outdated, can result in great returns for organizations.
However, too often we see organizations centralizing work with one agency or using a partner based on precedence rather than their ability to best meet the strategic objectives. This may not always be a conscious choice, since organizations often struggle to identify the level of strategic thinking needed to meet their creative objectives. As a result, matching the right agency with the right creative job is a tougher task than most would imagine. And the wrong choice can lead to rework, inefficient spending and poor use of resources.
Here are 5 simple tips for matching creative work to agencies:
1. Classify creative by levels of required strategic thinking.
The goal here is to link design assignments with the level of strategic thinking each requires. Many organizations use a grading scale (A, B or C) for the level of design work. The highest grade requires highest-level strategic thinking. An example might be new-to-the-world product innovations. Typically there is a high level of organizational and financial investment in this type of project. Giving this assignment an “A” ensures that the organization invests the right level of dollars to guarantee that consumers understand the benefits and that the design fits into the overall brand architecture.
2. Identify agency core capabilities.
Next, it’s important to understand your agencies’ capabilities. This goes beyond just working with your account manager. It requires knowing how the agency has grown or expanded their capabilities over the years. You should know the creative team that will be working on your account, including their background and other accounts they support. Evaluate the agency’s body of work. And after you feel confidently informed of its history and core competencies, then build and create the organization’s agency roster. Make it clear to the organization who should engage on different creative assignments.
3. Categorize brands by size and scale.
The size and scale of your brand will influence the level of creative and strategic support. Bundle brands that share similar insights or the same consumer landscape. Then assess the level of financial support the organization can offer – are these growing or are they struggling and require a brand refresh? After you have a clear picture of how this brand ranks within the organization, you can organize the brands and bundle them by common characteristics. This allows for natural design and process synergies, like the ability to partner with the right agency and actualize cost savings when developing creative SOWs.
4. Create swim lanes for creative agencies.
A swim lane diagram will help document clear ownership and can provide your agencies with guidelines that distinguish job sharing and responsibilities across marketing initiatives. This is important because blurred lines between agencies will end up causing reworks and delays, increasing costs. Implementing defined boundaries will limit rework and excess agency fees.
5. Develop adaptive workflows and brand guidelines.
Agencies often need to communicate with each other and you can help facilitate seamless execution. To do this, document the design workflow and designate when creative hand-offs should happen between agencies. For help with brand guidelines, ask your lead strategic agency to develop this to ensure consistency with other agencies. Within these guidelines, executional mandates should be clearly stated and outlined, including logo treatment across marketing platforms and approved color palettes, type fonts and photography styles.
Marrying the right agency to the right creative assignment will result in smarter budget decisions and lead to best in-class market executions. For more information on agency selection and agency resourcing models, contact our Continuous Improvement Practice.