8 must-ask questions to pick the right creative agency

Picking the right creative agency is crucial. Get it right and you’ll have a stress-free life with dream creative that everyone loves. Get it wrong, and you’ll dread asking them to do anything, as it will just mean lots of hassle and creative which is never quite right.

The problem is many people think choosing an agency is just about the creative, or even worse, base their decision solely on cost. While price is obviously a factor, it shouldn’t be the overriding reason you choose an agency. Why? Because there is so much more you should be considering.  Do they have sector experience? Are they able to demonstrate a great track record? Are they willing to listen to your point of view?

We take a look at some must-ask questions, which will help you decide whether an agency is the right choice for you.

  1. How important will your account be?

The biggest single risk you face when choosing an agency is hiring someone who simply doesn’t care about your account. Yes, they might impress at the pitch meeting and have a global network of offices, but when it comes down to it, how much does your account matter to them?

Go with a big agency and if your budget isn’t big enough, or the work sexy enough, you could find you’re very low on the list of priorities. Even worse you could end up getting less for your money – they’ve got to pay for all their global offices somehow. Choose a smaller agency and they are much more likely to see you as you really are – an important account that needs to be nurtured and looked after.

Ultimately, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: what would you rather be? A small cog in a big wheel or a big cog in a small wheel?

  1. Who will be working on your account?

As we mentioned in our last blog, finding out who will actually be servicing your account is crucial. In an ideal world, it will be the people who attend the pitch meeting, but it’s best to check. The last thing you want is to build a great rapport with the pitch team only to never see or hear from them again!

If your future creative team isn’t at the pitch meeting, it’s not necessarily all bad, but we’ll be honest, it’s just not how we work.  With us, what you see is what you get, so from the outset you will meet and get to know those working on your account.

  1. Do they offer a broad set of skills?

Choosing an agency isn’t just about the work you want done today, but also the potential work you want done in the future, so make sure they have a broad enough skillset to cover all your needs. Maybe you’ll need a new website in a year’s time so digital design skills would be a plus. Planning to launch a new product? You’ll need branding expertise.

It’s one of the reasons why focusing on price as the deciding factor can sometimes end up costing you more in the future. Choose an agency based on a spreadsheet alone and you’ll just end up wasting more money, not to mention time, when you have to find yet another agency to deal with a different set of creative needs.

  1. Do they have sector experience?

There is a school for thought that says if you’re a creative you should be comfortable designing or marketing anything, but if you want exceptional rather than just good, find an agency that knows and gets your industry. Having an insight into what others are doing in your sector will help ensure your creative stands out from the crowd, and they will also be fully aware of all the latest trends as well as any dos and don’ts.

But also look for agencies that deal with more than one sector, as this helps inject a slightly different way of thinking into their work. It’s one of the reasons, we don’t just focus on animal health, but also work across the technology and lifestyle sectors.

  1. What’s their track record for delivery?

Checking their track record for delivery is a great way of understanding how an agency works and what processes they have in place. Ask them about a time when it went up to the wire, why they thought that was the case and what they have changed so it’s less likely to happen again.

You want an agency that’s not only able to always deliver on time and on budget, but also agile enough to adapt when things don’t go to plan.

  1. How long has the agency been working with their current clients?

It goes without saying you’ll be shown lots of great work the agency has produced for their various clients, but that’s just one facet of the relationship.

In many ways finding out how long they have worked with their clients can tell you a whole lot more. Why? Because it gives a valuable insight into how they work – after all, if they fail to deliver on time, make lots of shoddy mistakes or are just a pain to work with, chances are the clients would have gone elsewhere a long time ago.

  1. Has the agency won any awards for their work?

Awards are a way of recognising excellence and help agencies benchmark their work against the best in the industry. So, an agency with a few awards next to their name is not only producing some of the best work around but, by default, also helping grow their clients’ business.

We don’t like to boast but we have won a number of awards in our time, including ones for this campaign for Seresto, which went on to gain global recognition.

  1. What do you think about our current marketing materials?

Trust is so important in an agency relationship, so find out early on whether they are willing to give you an honest opinion. A good agency will be able to give constructive, rational and helpful advice without unduly tearing apart your current agency.

And if you don’t agree with their view? Voice your opinion and see what they say. If they are insistent you are wrong and won’t listen to reason, then it might be time to walk away. You should be looking to build a long-lasting, collaborative relationship not one where you are railroaded into every creative decision.

Want to ask us these 8 questions?

Then get in touch! We would love to find out a bit more about your creative needs and will be more than happy to tell you a bit more about how we work.