5 things to consider when choosing an advertising agency

When you think of an advertising agency, you may think of a gigantic creative machine that churns out TV ads with multi-million Rand budgets. But these days, almost any business can benefit from creative agency services, and there is guaranteed to be an agency out there that suits your company’s size and spend.

If you’re considering hiring an advertising agency, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  1. You want an agency that balances creative and strategic thinking
    Sure, creative thinking gets your business noticed, but strategic thinking gets you sales. Some of the top creative agencies focus on creating daring, interesting, even shocking creative work, but fail to deliver a return on investment. You need an agency that balances the two worlds, creating advertising that will get you noticed, and get you sales.
    If you’ve ever wondered “what does an advertising agency do?” you’ll find the answer lies in the balance between identifying a good strategic insight about your brand, and then finding a creative way to demonstrate that insight.
  1. You need to avoid the fly-by-nights
    Thanks to the internet, anyone can start an advertising agency in a matter of days. Create a cool website and you’re in business. But when looking for an advertising agency, ensure that the agency you choose has a few years of experience under their belt. You’ll find an agency with years of experience can offer a deeper perspective and will have greater insight into what will work, and what won’t.
  1. Find a creative agency that will challenge you
    You don’t want an agency that blindly agrees with everything you say. You want a real partner who can offer alternative ideas and advice. Your agency should provide proactive thinking and offer you insight into new trends emerging in the industry. They should be able to execute a brief you give them, but also have the ability to push it further, and give you something you didn’t even know you needed.
  1. Look for an agency with a range of services, including digital
    The future is digital. From websites to social media, to big data and paid search, apps and SEO content, you need an agency that embraces and understands the digital world.
    A full service agency should be able to produce everything from a poster to a TV advert to an app. Full service agencies such as Ebony+Ivory offer a media component, offering media planning and buying. When looking for digital media services or web advertising agency services, be sure that the team you choose is proficient in all things digital. Having said that, you ideally want an agency with all-round experience.
    If you’re wondering what the difference between advertising and digital advertising is, the answer should be: not that much. A strong advertising idea starts with a strategic insight. A creative idea is developed from that insight and then an advertising agency must decide how best to get that idea to your customers. A good creative idea should be able to work in a print advert, or a billboard, or on Facebook and LinkedIn.
    Ideally, you don’t want a ‘digital advertising agency’ that only specialises in digital work. You want an agency that can execute a strong idea across various media in clever and attention-grabbing ways.
  1. Size matters
    It’s a bit of a Goldilocks dilemma. You don’t want an agency that’s too big or one that’s too small. You’re looking for one that’s just right. Unless you manage a very large brand, you’ll probably get lost at a large agency, where you won’t receive the one-on-one attention you need. But very small, boutique agencies may be too specialised and may not have the resources you need to sort out issues quickly and effectively. What you need is an agency that offers personal attention, but still has the resources to meet your deadlines and resolve issues on time.
  2. Culture is key
    You want to find an agency that suits your company’s culture. Are they mavericks and rebels? Will that suit your conservative style? Are they too young and hip for your stately, refined brand? You want to feel that they truly understand your brand, and have your company’s best interests at heart. When providing feedback on ideas presented to you, you want to feel comfortable giving your honest opinion.

Ultimately the relationship between a client and their agency of choice should be one of mutual respect, and a partnership that evolves over time. As each partner holds high the mantle that creativity holds the answer to every challenge.

Without exception, we do three things exceptionally well – consider, create, amplify. Our full service offering starts with strong strategic insight, which is then developed into a creative campaign that can be executed across various media. Our knowledge and learning gives us a serious advantage over younger agencies, and our constant drive to innovate keeps us ahead of the latest trends. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you

Ebony+Ivory is an integrated advertising and media agency on the brink of celebrating 50 years of bringing media strategy, planning and buying plus creative together, for brand investment returns.

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