Why Creativity Needs to Drive Agency Culture

Posted on August 10, 2010 by 4 Comments

In the communications industry, “creativity” carries a wide array of meaning and interpretation. All too often, the word is aligned with designers and marketing specialists who are responsible for creating a fancy brand or dreaming up a viral PR/ad campaign. Dangerous.

For agencies large and small, it’s all too easy to bucket out creativity without recognizing the crucial importance of infusing a creative mindset across an agency setting. In essence, creativity should never be thought of as that “thing” that you focus on only during client brainstorms. Similarly, creative resources should never be aligned with “X person” at your agency that is identified as THE creative head.

The reality is that each and every person at your agency has the potential to be creative. How your agency activates and leverages that potential as an asset to your client base and as an overall competitive threat is a key capability differentiator.

Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with David Mahlmann, VP of Ideation and Creative Insights at Waggener Edstrom to discuss his thoughts on infusing creativity into agency culture.

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I couldn’t agree more with David’s thoughts on the topic. Personally, it’s the creative nature of my job and the industry that keeps me excited each and every day. In the world of communications, there are no boundaries to how we craft messages, build narratives and develop compelling prompts to generate action.

Whether it’s the physical environment of your agency, your team’s approach to brainstorming or the unique way you pitch new business and market yourselves online, take a moment to think about the multitude of ways creativity can separate your agency from the pack.

Clients Pick the Right Agency; Agencies Pick the Right Clients

Posted on June 27, 2009 by Comments Off

Tac Anderson, Digital Consulting Director

While I’ve only been at WaggEd for 6 weeks I’ve already been on a few big new business pitches. They’re a lot of work and can be a lot of fun (the ones that aren’t I usually don’t think we should go after).

Brad Van Auken has a great post where he outlines what to look for when shopping around for a branding agency:

The bottom line: If an agency has a hammer, it will treat everything as a nail. If it has a screwdriver, it will treat everything as a screw. Find out what tools, skill sets, and types of projects the agency or consultancy has focused on. In this way, you will know whether they are capable of helping you.

Finally, watch out for companies that “knock your socks off” with highly polished and compelling presentations delivered by their business development team, a group that you are likely not to see again after the business pitch. Ask to meet the people who will actually be assigned to your project. If they are labeled ‘Guru’s’ be sure you know what their actual level of involvement with your brand will be.

The two things I would say from the other side of the table speaking to agencies. Not every client engagement is going to be right for your firm, even if you’re an agency of record. Just take the jobs you’re equipped to handle.

And second don’t pitch with a huge production. Show up with a great strategy, some good creativity that conveys the idea and have a good conversation. Don’t spend tons of budget building out an actual campaign that may or may not get used even if you win the business.

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