Why An Agency Should Always Be Pushing Its Clients
I’m sure you’ve heard some form of the saying ‘growth happens when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone’ at least once in life. While the phrase itself is a bit cliche, the meaning behind it holds true in almost any circumstance. It is essential to push yourself – whether it be in your personal life, professionally, athletically or even mentally – in order to truly realize what you are capable of.
The same is true for companies and organizations looking to grow their market share and continue to drive business. As a creative agency, one of our core company values is to never be comfortable. We strive to work with clients who are willing to step outside their own comfort zones, be daring and differentiate.
While the idea of doing something ‘daring’ is often appealing, when it comes to your own brand, it can be easier said than done. As such, we’ve decided to break down exactly why clients feel uneasy when an agency challenges them, as well as outline the advantages of being challenged.
It makes you think differently about how your brand is defined
As a stakeholder, you may feel a personal attachment to how the brand of your company is defined in the minds of your audience. Perhaps you’ve been a part of the development from the beginning, or perhaps you were essential to building the existing marketplace image and equity to what it is today. Key stakeholders have the best grasp on what a brand stands for. As such, if your agency partner starts to question core attributes of how the organization represents itself you may want to push back. A good creative agency has a reason for everything. If they are recommending shifting how your company is positioned in the marketplace, it is in response to something they learned about the brand from the inside – through stakeholders like yourself or directly from the mouths of your audience.
You see the agency as removed from your brand
A new agency relationship can be a little rocky at first. They are new to you, perhaps your industry, and how you operate, and they’re already recommending changes. You may feel that you know best how to define and express your position. While that is true to an extent, having a third party who is removed from your history, your internal politics, and your day-to-day activities is essential to evolving the brand in a meaningful way. Your agency will set up an initial discovery meeting to understand the current positioning and the history of your marketing efforts. They will then utilize the information gathered – including insight provided directly by you – to make recommendations based on what they’ve learned. As an impartial party they quickly identify what fits and what might not be working or relevant. The agency’s value lies in the fact that they lack that emotional attachment, and can separate what is meaningful from what is not.
You don’t like the way it looks
This is one that every agency has run into at least once. The client has a problem with the way something looks. Maybe it is the color palette, maybe a new logo design seems too abstract. “I don’t like it” is something that can be uttered during the creative development process. Unfortunately, as close as you, the client, may be to how your brand has been executed in the past, your personal preferences have very little to do with the creative process. A creative agency utilizes all the information and insight provided from their client, along with any other outside research they can gather, all combined with a healthy dose of experience and intuition to produce creative elements reflective of the goals. The final creative is meant to resonate with a target audience and communicate a specific message. Whether or not a stakeholder ‘likes’ it is not usually something the agency would take into consideration when developing creative solutions.
You are happy with how things are now
This one can be tricky. Perhaps you approached an agency hoping to do a simple cosmetic update or to modernize an outdated website. There are many other factors that play into an agency’s creative recommendations, including company vision, goals and objectives, past history and future strategy. Your agency should take into consideration all of these factors in designing new creative that will ultimately help accomplish these goals, even if your initial perception encompassed minimal changes. They may suggest a more radical evolution of your position or how it is expressed than you first anticipated, but only as a result of your insight and objectives. Being open to new ideas from your agency could be a game changer for your business.
It’s different than anything else in the industry
Every company or organization believes that their service or product is different or better in some way when compared to competitors. One of the most essential steps in creating an ownable market position is identifying that point of differentiation and communicating it in a way that resonates with target audiences. An agency then takes that point of differentiation and translates it into design, which may present itself as something radically different than what is typically seen within your industry. Often, clients will push back on this, as it can be intimidating to step outside the norm, especially when a certain approach has proven successful. However, stepping outside that sea of sameness has the potential to make a lasting impact on your audience.
While trying something radically new or different in how you express your product or service can be a bit daunting, working with a creative agency who pushes you to consider doing so is essential to the proper growth of your brand in the minds of your consumers.
By Ben Gust and Eli Gerson CEO and Chief Creative Officer at D+i Creative, a brand and product creative agency located in Denver, Colo. For more information, visit www.dandicreative.com or call (303) 292-3455.