Maximising the creative value of your advertising agency
Monday May 09 2022
Advertising and marketing is an ever-changing, complex business landscape. Corporate marketing leaders must be agile and adaptable to keep pace with developing strategies in order to maximise the value of the resources that the business they represent is investing in, this includes the contracted adverting agency.
Holding your agency accountable to a business objective with a set of key performance indicators will maximise their efforts and the capabilities of your team.
Having specialty and expertise are vital, however, the key to success is to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page and has context to your full business strategy and the value that successful advertising will add to it .
So here are some tactics corporate marketing teams can use to get the maximum output when using an advertising agency:
Give clear creative briefs and objectives
The creative brief is likely the first ask you’ll get from your creative agency. This document is the key to a successful project. It will ask you to detail all of the important information about your project, including goals, deadlines, budget, branding guidelines, etc.
The quality of your work is as good as the brief you give to your agency. Give a half-baked brief and you will receive a half-baked work. Be sure to give the agency clear objectives, deliverables, KPIs and budgets.
Most people shy away from sharing the budgets with their agency but this only helps to ensure that the agency understands what to achieve within the set budgets.
Here are a few tips to make your brief as useful as possible:
Include the right amount of information by filling out the brief in detail and provide any relevant supporting materials (such as brand guidelines, sales materials, etc.), but at the same time do not drown your creative agency in documents.
Remember, that the goal of the brief is to efficiently and in a few words explain what you are trying to achieve. Get the full team’s input so as to avoid issues down the line when there are internal conflicts about certain details.
Make sure to get approval before you send the brief back to your creative agency. Watch your language, because some of your industry’s buzzwords and acronyms may not be familiar with the agency so stick to easy-to-understand language.
Understand the Process
Every agency has its own production process and infrastructure, but in general, your creative engagement will include the following phases:
It ultimately starts with the discovery phase, which is the “learning” phase, when your creative agency dives into your brand to learn about your unique needs and the problems you are facing. This is followed by the insight phase, whereby your team will surface key insights that should inform what approaches are going to yield the best results for your objectives.
We then have the ideation phase, which is usually the brainstorming phase. This involves ideas being vetted and your creative team will pitch you concepts and a winner will be selected.
After this we have the execution phase and measurement phase, which is where your team will dive into creative execution, creating and iterating content based on your feedback and this will allow them to track success based on predetermined metrics.
Ask the right questions during your meeting
Depending on the engagement, there are several goals for this meeting:
It starts with meeting the creative team that will work on your project i.e. Account director, project manager, strategist, creative director, art director, copywriters, animators, etc.
This is your first opportunity to get to know each other and get a general sense of each other’s vibes, then go over the brief in detail so as to cover the creative agency’s process, talk timelines, and discuss other relatable project details.
Thirdly ensure both teams are aligned by clarifying any confusion, flag any potential issues, and addressing any outstanding unknowns. Lastly do not feel silly or shy when asking questions, it is better to be redundant now than sorry later.
Close the feedback loop
Naturally, as there are many moving parts in the creative process, you don’t want any miscommunication or oversights to interrupt or delay work. Hence, it is crucial to have very clear communication during these stages, especially when it comes to feedback.
Therefore you need to identify who will be managing things on either side. That way you know who to contact for questions, edits, or any other issues.
Moreover, the client should be vocal about how you think the agency is performing, how your experience is, and how it could be better. A good agency wants to know how they are doing and how they can improve things.
Feedback can be tricky, which is why it is important to view projects through the lens of problem and solution. “I don’t like the white” is not a useful statement. “Let’s use a bolder color that will stand out in people’s social feeds” is a more problem/solution-oriented way to address issues.
For the sake of time and efficiency, your point person should be in charge of collecting and consolidating feedback.
This includes getting approvals and resolving conflicting feedback. (It becomes much easier for your creative agency to work with a single checklist of edits instead of 32 comments from seven different people.)
Great advertising takes time. To the extent that you are able, plan the work well in advance so that both parties can comfortably work on the plan.
Your advertising agency should be an extent of the marketing team, engage and keep the team informed and maximise on expertise to gain the most value for your business.