The way in which companies choose which design agency to appoint has been a hot topic for a few years. The adrenaline-fuelled late-nights of the Mad Men style creative pitch are hopefully behind us, thanks to the thoughtful work of people like Blair Enns, and also the rise of procurement bringing a bit more rigour to the process. The pushback against free pitching is a big factor in this, but another reason to move beyond the creative pitch is that, when it comes to effectively collaborating with a design agency, creativity is just one of the factors that determine success.
Let’s face it: if you have a number of agencies, the quality of their work is probably what has got them on your list. So you can take creativity as a given. But an idea is only as good as its execution, particularly in these days of multiple touchpoints and channels. Robust systems, watertight processes and efficient service levels are, ultimately, just as important to a partnership that creates genuine value.
Adam Fennelow from the Design Business Association told us, “When a relationship breaks down, it’s typically because of service levels, not creativity."
We are very proud of our reputation for commercially-effective work, not least thank to our record in the DBA’s own Design Effectiveness Awards. So we are in a pretty good position to analyse what makes our most effective client relationships work so well. Creativity is obviously a huge part of that success, but so too is the strength of our systems, and the willingness to really get under the skin of the client’s business, and making the effort to ground ideas in hard data.
Don’t just take our word for it. We spoke to several of our longest-standing clients about the secrets of success in selecting the right agency to add value to your brand. It turns out there’s no secret, but there are several things to look out for when making a decision that could prove crucial to future growth. Find out more in our exclusive report.
Many thanks to all the clients who contributed.