How do you determine if your branding and advertising agency is your true soul mate?

In today’s fast-paced market conditions it’s important for your agency to be part of your marketing team. What makes a branding and advertising agency a true partner? In order to come up with a good answer, what needs to be established is: What are your expectations of an agency? Is it great creative? Is it thinking outside of the box?

It goes without saying that every relationship takes two parties to come together and it’s based on both parties’ willingness to make it work. The basis of this article however, is about the degree of difficulty to making the relationship work.

Here are a few indicators to determine if the branding and advertising agency you have on board really is your business soul mate.

Adding value: The sign of a good agency is that it acts as your partner. Your agency should also always have the brand’s or business’s best interest at heart. In order to do that, they need to anticipate the needs of the brand and bring forward any issues they foresee. They need to take the brief you provided and expand on it – adding alternatives that you as a brand manager may not have thought of.

Attention to detail: When time is of the essence and turnarounds are quick, team players must all do their part to make sure that details are accurately addressed. Regardless of the relationship you have, “My bad.” shouldn’t cut it as an excuse.

Meeting budgets: Your agency needs to be in control of projects and their budgets, not the other way around. One sure way of knowing if an agency does exercise control, is if they have the ability to raise a flag at the precise time that a project’s budget starts going north.

Delivery on timelines: Let’s face it, an agency’s role is to help make the brand team look good. One of the easiest ways to do so is by meeting timelines. The agency world is all about deadlines, does your agency meet yours?

Creative relevance: It’s important for any brand initiative that the communications set forth have creative relevance. It’s not about pretty pictures, or creative awards. It’s about strategy and resonating with the consumer base. If you find that you constantly have to wrestle with your agency about what your brand is about and meeting requirements, maybe they are not the “one”.

Do you agree? What are some issues you have come across when dealing with your branding and advertising agency?