Understanding Creative Agencies

Have you ever used or considered using the services of a creative agency?

In fact, lets start off with an even more rudimentary question: does anyone really know what a creative agency is? The truth is, many businesses claim to be creative agencies often can be defined in another, more specific way, but simply opt for this umbrella term! So let’s break it down:

Creative | synonyms: inventive, imaginative, innovative, original, experimental

Adjective: Relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something. “change unleashes people’s creative energy”

Noun: A person whose job involves creative work. “the most important people in the mix be creative and direct marketing specialists”

Agency | synonyms:  business, company, activity, effect, influence, service

Noun: a business or organization providing a particular service on behalf of another business, person, or group.“an advertising agency”

Noun: a action or intervention producing a particular effect. “canals carved by the agency of running water”

You need creative services, but which ones?

And how do you pick which company to work with?

We think the best creative agencies are the ones that offer an innovative spectrum of services that can be tailored to any clients’ needs – making it a necessity to be creative not only in process, but approach to a task. Curating and retaining an innovative studio team is absolutely essential for success. Anyone can learn the principles of graphic design, but flare and imagination cannot be taught – only nurtured over time.

So, from building strong, meaningful branding to bringing it to life on screen or in print – find an agency that really gets you – and your business. Even when you do find the perfect creative agency to produce your marketing and advertising material, in order to get the most out of your “creative team” it’s really important to understand exactly why you’re employing their services.

Where to start?

Often, a great place to start is developing an understanding of your own business, but from a client perspective. Think, no matter what industry your business operates in, there are a number of basic factors that define it to your existing or prospective clientele: product/service, location, customer service, perceived quality and values. Another way of looking at this is by applying the principles of the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why! Use this information to create an outline of a brief to take to your first meeting with your new creative team!

If your initial discussions go well, the next step is usually concepts… No matter whether you’re considering a total rebrand, some new stationery or a website re-design, any good creative agency will provide you with a few different ideas. At this stage it is CRITICAL to carefully consider what is on table. Never tell an agency what you think they want to hear! Be honest! If they’ve not quite hit the brief, try to explain why and give them some additional direction beyond your original brief. Remember, no agency will ever set out to actively produce anything you don’t want or like. Good agencies should be as invested in your business as you are (well almost!).

Where next?

The journey from here is typically very straightforward.  A process of several levels of drafts and alterations, followed by the all-important sign off. However, throughout this process, don’t be afraid to check-in and talk to you account manager or designer directly. Good creative agencies will welcome this level of collaboration and transparency, as long as you give them enough time between calls to actually get things done.

After a job is complete, be sure to provide constructive feedback. Remember, the only way people get better is when they can learn from past experiences. Building a positive relationship and rapport with your own creative agency is a fantastic way to take a weight off your shoulders and ensure consistency in your marketing and advertising materials for years to come.