Agency Relationships – Myth vs Reality

Considering partnering with an advertising agency is a big decision for any company. You’re going to want an agency that strives something more than a vendor-client association, you want an agency that is looking to make a partnership with your company just like a marriage. Before you begin your search, here are a couple of myths about advertising agencies that will help you better understand the industry and guide you to choosing the best agency for your group.

Myth No. 1: Bigger agencies mean bigger teams working on your account, which translates to bigger solutions.

The above myth supposes that when an agency gets a job, the whole team will be working collaboratively on it. Unfortunately, this not the case in most big agencies. In fact, large advertising agencies usually have several smaller teams of writers and designers that are pitted against other writers and designers in an intense competition. While competition like this can sometimes lead to good ideas rising to the top, it isn’t the bona-fide rule. In contrast, smaller agencies will have a whole team of creatives working together to collaboratively create the best solution for the client.

Myth No. 2: Agency specialization means better ideas and strategies.

This myth argues that if an advertising firm focuses primarily with clients of one specific industry, they’ll be able to better develop ideas and strategies than an advertising agency that works with a multitude of clients from different backgrounds. Truth is that this stifles the creatives working for the advertising agency as they will never have the chance to approach new challenges with a fresh and totally different outlook. Instead, they’ll be essentially trapped in a box, more likely to regurgitate ideas and strategies for clients.

Myth No. 3: An advertising agency that is based out of the same town as your company will be easier to work with.

Great client service isn’t about the physical distance between agency and client, but rather about the consistency and frequency of communication. This doesn’t mean ignore all local advertising agencies, but rather don’t feel constrained to choose a local-based agency based primarily on the distance of their door to yours. If there’s a better agency across the state, by all means, go for them! We live in a current economic climate where decisions and questions can be posed through connections by e-mail, videoconferencing, social media, and so much more. The most important thing is to find an agency that is ready to devote the time to ensure seamless communication.

Myth No. 4: Older agencies are time-tested, new agencies are questionable.

Reality: Even if a certain advertising agency created a landmark ad campaign in the 1970s, or won a closet full of awards, it doesn’t mean they are best agency for the job today. The creatives within different advertising agencies change, and the whole scope of advertising has changed. This means that solutions that once worked for yesterday, won’t necessarily translate to successes today. Choose an advertising agency based on the strength of their current portfolio, and not on their historic profile.

Myth No. 5: Working with the in-house staff of media platforms is cost-effective and worthwhile.

While newspapers, radio stations, and cable televisions providers have writers and designers, it doesn’t mean that this staff is capable of delivering the same quality output as a defined advertising agency. Before hiring anyone, whether it’s through the media or an outside agency, be sure that they understand your demographic, collaborate with your brand strategy, and are invested in your long-term success.