Why size matters: the Goldilocks principle
When choosing which creative agency to partner with, there’s one factor that can have serious implications when it comes to scaling your company – size.
Bigger agencies – particularly when they’re wooing potential clients – can seem impressive. Senior partners will often take initial ‘new business’ meetings and have the experience and reputation to pitch a great service. However, once the client is won, all too often the account is passed down to a more junior account manager, who might not represent the same DNA and pedigree that made the client sign in the first place.
At the other end of the spectrum, smaller agencies might offer a great personal relationship but will struggle to offer the scope of expertise to scale with the client as their marketing and branding needs grow. Let’s break down the top 3 things to look for, and why.
A personal relationship
Without a consistent, strategic relationship between agency and client, any brand building or marketing efforts are doomed from the start. Consistency is the key to building both brand and company, incrementally developing and evolving messaging across all channels in a way that perfectly represents where the company is – and where they want to go.
With bigger agencies, there’s a real danger that accounts – even key accounts – can be passed from manager to manager and that those working on the accounts, from copywriters to designers, might not be fully engaged with the brand story.
The result? Inconsistency. However, with a slightly smaller agency, everyone from the owner down is invested in the success of their client on a personal level. This closeness of the relationship is key to evolving a brand in a strategic way.
“We are proud and extremely happy with our new brand identity. Sköna has listened to us and were able to grasp our vision and exceed our expectations, always going that extra mile. Throughout the whole project the team have been patient, approachable, helpful, friendly, efficient, informative, professional and very easy to work with. All designs were of such a high standard and their ideas were spot on. We are more than happy with Sköna’s services and we highly recommend their work.”
Daniela Vidakovic Lundin, Global Marketing Manager, Mercuri International
At the other end of the spectrum, hyper-specialized agencies might be able to meet a client’s initial demands, coping well with a certain campaign type but as their client grows they may struggle to keep up. As the client expands, the scope of their marketing will become more robust: online/offline, physical events, swag, ABM campaigns, technical website integrations – these all require different skill-sets and levels of technical expertise.
In some cases, when an agency is too specialized it may not have the resources to take on a full scope of campaigns and unfortunately, be forced to outsource critical elements. Again, resulting in a lack of consistency of deliverables.
“With a large company you have the partners that are doing the presentation and then reality sets in and the account is being handled by people that you might feel don’t represent quite the same DNA and pedigree as the partners…with a lot of smaller agencies you just outgrow them really fast, where that scope of expertise is anchored in either digital deliverables only, or offline deliverables only, or only look and feel, but they can’t translate that into a campaign flow.”
Lars Christensen, VP Marketing, Snowflake
Either way, it’s going to restrict the client’s ability to scale in the way they’d like.
We’ve spoken elsewhere about building a brave brand. A brave creative agency is not one that is necessarily taking risks – it’s about having confidence in the client’s story, positioning them in the market in a way that stands out from the crowd.
Too often we make the mistake of thinking of B2B companies as somehow more objective in their purchasing decisions – of considering them as one, corporate customer. What we forget is that B2B companies are made up of individuals and these individuals are just as affected by a brand in their professional lives as they are in their personal B2C purchases.
In fact, there is good evidence that a brand actually becomes more important in a B2B purchase – making a mistake could have profound implications for a buyer’s career. As such, trust becomes a critical factor. And trust is based upon our perception of the brand.
Brave brands are those which go beyond the mundane and inspire an emotional connection between buyer and seller – and brave brands cannot be built by agencies that lack certainty in their ability.
“I’ve been working with first-class design teams the last 35 years, at some of the most dominant brands in the business — Disney, Yahoo, Fox. The design team Sköna assembled to reimagine and recreate the iMerit website was among the best I’ve had the pleasure of working with. The team brought a host of concepts to the process and the know-how to flawlessly execute against an entirely different and more visionary turn of mind. The team at Sköna not only made me look good… they made me perform better.”
Mark Papia, Director of Content & Communications, iMerit
The result? Consistency and growth
With the right relationship between agency and client, strength in depth when it comes to skills and expertise, and a bold, brave approach to brand, all the building blocks are put in place for taking tech companies from local to global. It’s all about consistency – a clear understanding of where a company wants to go and a clear vision of how to get them there.
So, why should you believe what we say? Because it’s at the heart of what we do – taking tech companies and building brave brands.
“I think the reach of Sköna in terms of building online, offline, physical campaigns, offline campaigns, online campaigns, swag, you know, you name it. There’s a great reach to the agency, where we haven’t felt a limitation yet. I see Sköna as a really strong partner when it comes to the development of the brand. I think we have had at least three or four significant brand revisions during our journey. And I think Sköna has been a key agency in developing the creative guidelines for evolving the brand.”
Lars Christensen, VP Marketing, Snowflake