Upfront recently hosted a packed breakfast seminar, looking at the importance of your agency brand. Together with guest speakers including Lena Robinson (Kiwi Gray), Tony Spong (AAR) and Ameet Chandarana (Digital Consultant), we explored best practice and discussed how agencies can develop their brand to help attract new business and give their business development activity purpose.
Here are some of the insights and recommendations shared during the morning:-
There are over 20,000 agencies in the UK, it’s tough to stand out and agencies are failing to differentiate themselves. It’s important to remember that clients do not spend much time looking for agencies. The key is to bring awareness, tell your story and message in a way that will stand out
The truth is that most agencies sound the same. From “we are an integrated agency specialising in…” or “award winning”, to the “we are a new breed of marketing agency…”
Often the question from the client is the same – “Tell me again, what is it that you actually do?”
The typical answer agencies give to this question is then to list all of the services they provide. Tony Spong provided a comparison with Chilli. It’s not about the list of ingredients, its about the one magic ingredient. It’s not just what you cook, but the way you cook it.
A well articulated brand helps you communicate something much larger than the sum of your ingredients.
Brand Purpose: Why do you exist? What do you excel at doing and how? Understand your “why”, have a framework, and everything will flow.
So how do you build a framework to develop your unique story? Your proposition statement (DNA) needs to include the Why (how you see the world), the How (the way you think) and What (your capabilities). How you flex these is how you compete.
The importance of the narrative: keeping this consistent to make it easier for the client to keep tuned into what you’re saying. A narrative makes it easier to understand what goes in, and what comes out. A narrative is your story – what you can do and no-one else can.
Surprisingly, most agencies do not have brand guidelines. By working on your brand proposition and following its guidelines, your agency’s communication will be consistent and you will stand out by having a distinctive personality.
Brand Essence: Build an authentic story. One that is true to you and no other agency.
Brand Promise: Always deliver what you say you will. This is why it’s important to focus on your core skills. Having one too many is likely to damage your brand promise.
Brand Reputation: Make sure your marketing and sales strategy are aligned.
No matter how small or large your agency is, it’s important to have a business development strategy. Make realistic goals such as the number of wins you want to have in a year. Involve all your team in writing content. Motivate them to write about their expertise, their opinions or insights. Remember to keep a consistent message on every medium and to plan for delivery.
If you would like to find out more about the speaker and would like help telling your agency story, then get in touch.
We also heard about some of the ‘dos and don’ts’ for agency approaches. Click here to hear what they are.