How to choose the right creative agency

Published: March 2012

There’s no doubt that enlisting the help of a creative agency to help with your business’s marketing strategies can pay dividends if you don’t have the expertise in-house to carry out such tasks… but how can you be sure you’re taking on the best agency to suit your particular needs?

With a proliferation of agencies springing up throughout the UK, choosing the agency to deliver the best results for you can be a stressful task.

There is, however, a simple process to follow to ensure the right choice is made.

“Choosing the right agency is an essential step in the marketing process,” explained Carl Buckley, Managing Director of Urban River.  “Getting it wrong can be a disastrous waste of time, money and resources and can lead to damage to the reputation of a company.” Carl offers advice on how to choose the right creative agency.

1. Before approaching any agencies, define your brief carefully

  • spell out the aims and objectives of the project
  • define the target audiences
  • have an estimated budget with which to work
  • draw up a list of preferences relating to a potential agency
  • What is the agency’s experience in your industry/sector, company type and location?

Carrying out these steps alone should culminate in an edited list of possible agencies.

2. Armed with this list, a small amount of desk research should be undertaken

  • use tools such as the Internet
  • if you have agency literature, browse this too
  • seek personal recommendations from networks
  • browse trade association directories
  • further information can be utilised to narrow the search and establish a final shortlist

At this stage your brief from step 1 can be issued to the shortlist of agencies – any agency worth working with will be happy to present a proposal. If you like the proposal, make a face-to-face pitch for your work as this is the perfect opportunity to ask more questions.

The pitch also gives you with the opportunity to meet members of the agency team.  Always try to ensure that the members of the pitch team are those that will actually work on the account should the agency be successful – a simple clash of personalities can cause the breakdown of an agency / client relationship.

3. You should now understand the capabilities of each agency and make a decision.

Once the selection has been made, terms of business and small print can be drawn up.

“I always advise clients that the best way forward when working with agencies is to work with them as closely as possible – that way both parties achieve the maximum benefit and the strategies worked on will be more successful,” concluded Carl.

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