In a world full of noise, agencies make music.
No, not literally. But agencies are tasked with creating brands and messages that cut through the clutter and resonate with a specific target audience. The agency’s goal is to ensure that the target audience connects with the brand or message. That they’ll do everything they can to attach themselves to it. That they’ll tell their friends and family about it. That they’ll wear it. That they’ll post it. That they’ll share it. That they’ll listen to it.
What agencies know that clients don’t.
Agencies know less. At least right away. And that’s a good thing.
You ever write something up and think it’s flawless, only to have someone else read it over and point out 50 spelling errors, bad grammar usage and multiple incomplete thoughts? That’s because you were so attached to what you were writing, so close to it, that you couldn’t see its flaws.
Agencies have the experience and the crucial distance to not only point out what’s wrong, but find ways to make it right — ways the client never would have thought of.
Getting people to care.
Agencies are tasked with finding things that people care about. An audience can see the same message a thousand times, but if it doesn’t pique their interest, they won’t give it a second thought. So, agencies focus their research in three areas: the product or service, the audience and the competition. No-brainer, right? Well, that’s just the start.
The next thing they do is dig and dig until a single insight is found that’s harmonious between each of those things. Then they come up with concepts and execute against that insight again and again until a message is formed. That message must make the audience think, feel and do. You wouldn’t believe the amount of ideation and strategy that went into the simple, two-word advertising campaign called ‘Got Milk?’
But that’s not what matters. What matters is that it worked.
Data, testing and hoping.
“Will it work?” That’s the million – sometimes more than a million – dollar question. It’s the question that keeps both client-side CMO’s and agency-side creative directors up at night.
Luckily, today’s technology allows agencies to track everything in real time. They have archives of data points showing what has and hasn’t worked in the past. All of that data can help guide the messaging. It can help decide which channel to use, or how to say something.
But sometimes the best work comes from a gut instinct. The risky ideas, the cool ideas, the funny ideas, the great ideas – a lot of times they seem crazy at first. That’s because they’ve never been seen or tested before. Ever. There’s a lot of risk involved. For these types of ideas to get out the door of an agency, the client needs to trust and the agency needs to hope.
Reasons not to hire an advertising agency.
An advertising agency’s role is to help identify opportunities for businesses and increase the success of their products and/or services. If a business leader does not trust that an ad agency will work as hard as they can to do that for their business, don’t hire an ad agency.