5 Reminders When Selecting a New Branding Agency


Now that the 60+ hour work week you’ve been tallying has finally seen fruit,  you’re now the proud parent of a recently launched brand campaign. The dust has settled, tapes delivered, it’s time to take a step back and take stock. Too bad you’re not afforded the luxury of endless time and 3 assistants. Soon, your email will be filled with feedback, customer analytics, and meeting reqs to debrief from the research department. If only they served the good donuts in those meetings.

Sorry, I got distracted.

The truth is something’s not right and you just can’t put your finger on it. You’ve decided, for one reason or another, that you will explore other options for the next creative assignment. It could be business chemistry, lackluster creative process, or just an annoying EP. Maybe the agency is showing some early tell-tale credit crunch signs of going belly up. You’re going to look at options. Agency review has become a far more common practice, perhaps you’ll stumble across a new broadcast design agency gem, one with the enthusiasm, spark, and capability offering you’ve been hankering for.

If you decide on embarking on your next agency review solo, here’s a short, nifty list of things to consider before you take the plunge. And by plunge I mean, be unlucky enough to get a hold of an eager business development executive who will call, email, and nag you weekly until you share a drink at the PROMAX New York afterparty.

  • Ask yourself: Is this review really necessary? How much effort, time, and shared business knowledge has gone into the encumbent agency?
  • Be clear with what you’re looking for in a new design firm. Identifying category skill-sets like specialist firms that focus on network branding or on-air promotion will enable you to avoid long and unnecessary pitch lists with design firms that lack the requisite skill-sets. Sure they have a great VFX reel, but you’re not going to pay them to learn how to produce a proper title sequence. This isn’t 2002.
  • Be clear on who you are involving internally with the review. There may be existing relationships within your organization that may cause unnecessary complication and emotional headaches.
  • Getting the right strategic/creative brief upfront will lay a foundation for a fruitful process. Fully explored briefs will help mitigate creative and financial risk. Part 2 of this article will explore a few universal success components of good pitches. Look for it in the coming weeks.
  • The value of pre-pitch meetings in order to establish personal, creative, and professional chemistry should not be underestimated.

And as I explained in my Guide to Distinguishing Agencies there is a new frenzy of broadast and design agencies competing for your brand assignments at any given time. They are hungrier, and more talented than ever. Recession provides a platform for change. The opportunities it gives should be neither feared nor wasted. So go out and explore your creative options!

If you would like to get my article when it posts on “10 Hot Broadcast Design Companies to Look Out for in 2009”, click here to get on my private e-list. Don’t worry, you’ll get email updates only when this blog is updated and since I don’t answer to any advertisers, your email is always held in the strictest of confidence and you will never get spammed.

…I’m off to find myself a warm buttermilk donut.


Filed under branding, marketing, opinion

4 responses to “5 Reminders When Selecting a New Branding Agency

  1. Shannon

    Really refreshing article Denny. I love your blog. I can’t agree with you more, we’ve taken on some vendors without doing an adequate round of pre-pitch. The results are never as good as proper meet and greets.


  2. Jeremy

    I’ve seen some disappointing capability presentation/pitches here lately. These reminders are always helpful in dealing with new agencies. Keep up the blog, very much enjoying your take on things.


  3. Stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and really have enjoyed it. Your article includes some great reminders on how we approach new briefs.

    I agree that pre-pitch “cocktailing” or chemistry meetings are insanely helpful.

  4. Nice article – clear advice for clients and to the point.

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