Basic guidelines on finding the right agency team

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LET’S SAY theoretically that you are a marketer and a client at the same time, and you have to deal on a weekly basis with agencies in the fields of creative advertising or media. Sooner or later it will occur to you that everyone preaches the same thing.

Once you decide to get rid of your incumbent agency for whatever reasons and another one comes strolling along with its grand philosophy and proprietary tools, you will get a sense that it is the same happy meal, eagerly waiting to please its client, but this time, it comes in a slightly different gloss on the packaging.
But don’t be fooled by the sparkles. Look beyond the facade and dig deeper into the heart of campaign success.
Below are some basic guidelines on how to select an agency that will truly deliver great work.

Chemistry
Chemistry is the foundation of a strong brand culture, which will dictate whether or not a certain team fits with your organisation.
The first question you should ask yourself is: “Is this the right team for me?” Does the team possess and demonstrate the passion for your product and brand and will it live and die by the values of your company?
Does it exhibit sincere interest in the passion points that are relevant to the context of your brand? This is very important because the team members have to immerse themselves in the same language as you before attempting to sell your products.
Lip service is cheap and actions speak louder than words. So make sure the personnel who pledge to serve you well can demonstrate the same desire to see your brand succeed, as if they were in your shoes.

Innovation
People are quick to associate the two words “innovation” and “technology” and they are often used interchangeably.
But one should not confuse innovation with technology in every situation.
That is not usually the case with advertising. It is more about the application and improvisation of those tools and services available in the market at every agency’s disposal. I am focusing on the innovation of ideas on those platforms that will impress the client. How you use it to bring your brand to life and how contextually relevant it is to your target group will help a client gauge the agency’s creativity.

Leadership
Do you have someone who can wholeheartedly declare accountability and responsibility for the challenges ahead and the tasks at hand? Is that person doing enough in empowering and delegating work to his or her subordinates well, so they feel a sense of ownership in that work?
Is the structure developed to serve the demands of clients strong enough that they can be called upon and act on behalf of the team when most needed?
These are a few of the questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to governance of the team.

Expectation
Managing a client’s expectations should never be understated. I cannot stress enough how crucial this factor is when it comes to the making or breaking of one’s relationship with the client.
Impressions last a long time and the delivery must fulfil the proposed plan that was sold at the beginning. There are agencies that will push the limits of possibility but are also sensible enough when to say, “No, this can’t be done, but we will try alternatives that can help us achieve the same goals.”
Agencies are paid to express points of views, not merely to take orders. Pick the ones that are brave enough to challenge your briefs, give qualified opinions and help guide the brand forward.

Idea
Last but definitely not least, the Holy Grail of the advertising world is the idea. It separates greatness from the mediocre.
Does the idea excite you? Does it bring your brand alive? Is it speaking to the context of consumers’ lives?
In a world where the traditional 30-second television commercial primarily serves to create awareness, how engaging is the agency’s storytelling of the brand’s narrative in the digital landscape to consumers’ lives?
These are a few of the questions I leave for you to explore when choosing the right team.
Now that you have five variables for choosing your dream team, you must now establish a coefficient to couple those variables individually in order to prioritise what works best for you and determine the optimal outcome.
I wish you the best in finding your dream team.
Pradon Sirakovit is associate director for corporate communications, IPG Mediabrands Thailand.