What to Look for When Choosing a Creative Agency

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Having spent the last 20+ years running a creative agency I have had a lot of successful, and a few not so successful, client relationships. Time and time again the clients that are the most enjoyable to work with are the ones who consistently bring out the best work from our creative team. By reverse engineering my life as an agency executive I have been able to come up with a few simple tips that I believe will help you find an agency that’s right for you.

1) Find an agency who produces great work. An agency is only as good as it’s latest work so find a team who consistently produces amazing creative time and time again. For some agencies there can be a lot of turn over and the designers who produced their best work are long gone. Ask who is going to be working on your account and find out what projects they have worked on. Also ask who on their team will be working on your account and what kind of experience they have. It’s important that your agency is able to translate your brand’s vision into powerful creative that builds your brand and drives your sales time and time again.

2) Have the agencies that you are interested in working with walk you through their process and have them show you past examples of that process in action. Having a proven process is what ensures that your branding will be as successful as their past projects. An agencies process should include them coming to know everything about you, your target market and your vision for the future. All too often creatives jump straight into design with out having a strategy which often produces nothing more than pretty pictures which may or may not help you get to where you need to go as a brand. The stronger the agency’s process and the more creative win’s they have had by using that process the more likely that your project will be a success as well.

3) Check references so that you can find a team that’s accountable and trustworthy. We have had countless clients come to us with agency horror stories where either their timelines were not met, their vision for their brand was poorly represented or their projects went over budget and were left incomplete. A quick reference check will often uncover the accountability of the company and it’s team. While we don’t recommend it, we have had interested businesses cold call our clients directly without us knowing. In our case it worked out because we pride ourself on delivering on time, being on budget, delivering great creative and most importantly always being a fun and enjoyable team to work with. A good agency will be happy to provide you with references to the clients who’s projects you are most drawn to.

4) Find an agency who loves to listen. Remember, you are the experts in your field and the agency needs to translate your needs into a powerful brand, website, advertising campaign, etc. Far too often I have had heard stories of agencies who refused to listen to their needs or their customer’s needs and wants. The result is creative that neither drives brand or drives sales. Lost revenue, lost time, over budget, the list goes on. At the same time you want to make sure that your agency isn’t just a “yes man”. When we are working with our clients we always show them what they want, and we show them what we feel they need. From there we have a conversation around the objective of the piece and what’s best for their brand.

5) And while this is the last on the list, it’s one of the most important and closest to our hearts here at FreeBird Agency. Find an agency who has a great team and that you enjoy working with and who has shared values to both you and your company. Life is short and we all spend way too much time working so find a creative partner who is easy to work with. On top of always having a smile, key points in choosing an agency you will love are; careful listeners, accountable, delivers on time, can do attitude, out of the box thinkers, team players, dedicated to the brand’s greater good, understands the importance of timelines and budgets, and most importantly take great pride in their work and their relationships.

There are lots of other things that you will likely want to look for, but these are a few that would be top of mind if I were looking for an agency to help take my brand take over the world.

If you have questions or are looking for a creative agency please email me as we would love to help out.

Noel Fox,
FreeBird Agency – Solutionist & Founder
noel (at) freebirdagency.com