Deciding to change your experiential agency, or using a brand experience partner for the first time, is a big step.
You need to be confident that your potential new agency knows exactly what it is talking about and is up for the job.
Knowledge of your brand, demonstrable proof of abilities, a creative flair, and excellent communications skills should all really be given factors in your new agency. But what are the other less obvious questions you should be asking to help you differentiate the great agencies from just the good ones?
Here are 6 questions we think are well worth asking:
1. Can they do the maths?
We creative marketers aren’t necessarily regarded as maths buffs. But a keen eye for numbers is essential for planning and orchestrating and experiential marketing campaigns. There are lots of numbers in experiential: complex budgets; redemption figures; uplift workings; ROI measures and so on. Can the agency balance its creative thinking with an ability to ensure the numbers deliver?
2. Can they deliver practical magic?
Does your shortlisted agency have a strong view on how deliverable and practical their big ideas will be in the field? Many agencies can dazzle with their creative ideas, but when it comes down to it they are alas unable to make them flourish in reality. Balancing creativity with real world practicality is a must, and is something we pride ourselves on here at Because.
3. Can you be straight with them?
You need to feel comfortable enough with these people so that you feel you can have a really honest conversation with them, whilst still maintaining a great relationship. Getting campaigns out the door isn’t always an easy ride, and you need an agency co-pilot who is straight-up and on it but enjoyable to work with.
4. Do they have a grasp of the bigger picture?
No campaign is an island. An agency needs to understand the brand’s overall goals to ensure they can steer the approach to meet the ultimate aims. This should be very evidently rooted in all their thinking, and this knowledge will also allow more room for creative ideas.
5. Can they prove they have great staff?
Brand ambassadors are the lynchpin of many brand experience campaigns. Your agency should be able to prove they have the very best promotional staff on their books and explain how this high standard is maintained.
Every brand has its own unique personality, and finding people who embody those personalities is key. Does your agency know all of its staff inside out – from psychometric testing to their style, skills, likes, loves, hobbies and hates? When the personalities are right, the conversation just flows - and we are big believers that brand messages are more believable when they are part of real conversations.
6. Are they a relevant match?
It’s all very well an agency having a cabinet full of marketing and events awards, and a CV full of impressive brands – but have they proved themselves in your world with the kind of consumer you want to connect with? Will their creative flair sit comfortably with your brand? For example, an agency that specialises is in controversial viral stunts wouldn’t really be the pick for a conservative corporate - although stranger things have happened!
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.