I saw an interesting article in AdWeek a few days ago, and while I don’t agree with all of it, there is a point that I liked and wanted to expand on: the idea of letting your agency be an agency.
It’s true that many brands have moved marketing projects in-house, but it sometimes seems that even those that have retained an outside agency (either as an AOR or just as part of the creative roster) have a tendency to think of them as an extension of their marketing team, rather than the valuable and unique perspective they were brought on to be.
Before we get into what not to do, let’s ask: what draws a brand toward in-house marketing in the first place?
Many feel that it’s cheaper, more streamlined, and easier to communicate a brand voice with an internal team rather than an agency. While some of this may ring true, much of it misses the mark of what has driven marketing creativity forward for decades.
Treating an agency like an in-house team by establishing tight constraints on branding and voice, and establishing only one-way communication from you to them will only create the same challenges that many of those teams face: stagnant messaging, stale ideas, and a relationship built on “checking the boxes” as opposed to forward-thinking, fresh ideas.
Every company wants a cohesive marketing identity, but this focus on identity can sometimes prove suffocating; the ability for an agency to look outside of your brand, your competitor set, or even your industry for new thinking is an advantage, not an indicator of losing focus.
Allow your agency to bring these ideas into discussions – you may be surprised at how well it translates into your big-picture strategy.
If you want results from an agency, you need to embrace what drives fresh ideas. This means a collaborative exchange of ideas, a free-flow of communication that doesn’t boil down to you giving orders and the agency offering its best attempt at scrambling to meet them.
Of course, sometimes you’ll find that your agency has fallen into complacency, and is unable to deliver new ideas to the table when given the chance.
If you feel that your partner isn’t capitalizing on the creative leeway you’ve trusted them with, feel free to reach out or call us (513-559-3101) and allow us to help you find one that will.