Tips on How to Find a Creative Agency Partner

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As a business owner, you are well-versed in the importance of working with skilled and innovative teams to drive traffic and augment your marketing strategy. However, navigating the world of creative agencies can be overwhelming, with potential partners’ many different specializations and capabilities. 

At CJAM, we understand that working with the right agency can make all the difference in taking your business to the next level. Whether you want to change your brand image, launch a new advertising campaign, or explore new digital solutions, the right creative agency can be your key to success.

This article will explore the types of creative agencies and what to look for when identifying the right one for your needs and objectives. In doing so, we will delve into some tips on interviewing and selecting an agency with your business at the top of their minds.

What Is a Creative Agency?

A creative agency typically refers to a team of individuals with varying skill sets and expertise amongst different aspects of a marketing campaign or strategy. For example, creative agencies might have graphic design, copywriting, SEO, and paid media experts. In some cases, an agency might be more specialized, like advertising, design, or strategy agencies that focus more deeply on one aspect of marketing. Ultimately, the goal remains the same: to help their clients succeed with their business through the offered service.

Different Types of Creative Agencies

Several types of creative agencies provide varying services, making it important to first identify the needs and objectives of your business before searching for the right partner. Here are a few of the more common types of creative agencies:

Advertising

Businesses often turn to creative agencies for help crafting advertising campaigns to promote the brand and its products or services. Advertising-focused creative agencies specialize in innovation and idea generation while overseeing entire media campaign rollouts for the brands they are working with. They generally have stronger expertise in market research to help identify target audiences and the types of content and offers that will best resonate with them.

Design

Design plays a critical role in brand recognition; think of McDonald’s and its golden arch or Target’s giant red circle. These simple yet effective designs are recognizable worldwide and help these brands stay ahead and top of mind concerning their consumers. Creative agencies specializing in design are at the forefront of this process, enabling brands to create promotional materials and logos that are easily recognizable and resonate with their audiences.

Strategy

Creative agencies focusing on consulting services typically resort to client data and market research to discuss strategy and ideate on campaigns to grow the business. Additionally, some consulting-focused agencies may offer support for product development. Nonetheless, a strategy agency can be a great choice for a business that needs help with conducting various creative campaigns or launching their next best selling product.

Technology & Digital Solutions

You’ve likely heard about ChatGPT and many other massive tech tools and languages that have caught the world’s attention, transforming how companies and governments operate. Staying ahead of the competition requires innovation and flexibility, meaning brands constantly look for ways to augment their processes and keep up with the trends. As a result, technology and digital creative agencies offer the solution, helping these businesses stay current and onboard the different available solutions.

Finding the Right Creative Agency

Hopefully you now have a greater understanding of the many functions and roles of various creative agencies and how they may overlap in supporting the growth of your business. That being said, finding the right agency to work and partner with can be a cumbersome task.

Identify Your Business Goals

In finding the right creative agency, do a deep dive into your business and identify any clear objectives or milestones you are looking to reach. Completing this preliminary research will make it easier to start looking for partners best suited for these tasks. If you’re unsure what the next steps might look like, then a creative agency can help to guide you in the right direction. Regardless, finding a creative agency that is both proficient and has the right intentions is important. At CJAM, we’ve vetted hundreds of agencies and only work with the best. Start by booking a call, and we can work with you to find the right partner for your business, saving you wasted time and money working with an inadequate partner.

Evaluate Experience & Case Studies

Case studies and client testimonials can be an excellent way to understand better the agency you’ll potentially take on as a partner. Look carefully at their portfolio to see if they’ve had experience in similar industries, similar projects, and completed high-level projects. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and contact a potential agency to request further work samples or get to know some team members.

Establish Trust

Find an agency partner that demonstrates clear intentions and delivers on their promises. It may not be the right fit if you are not confident in your agency from the first meeting. Trust your gut and then double-check by following the tips outlined in this post. Did the agency deliver value before they asked for your signature on a contract? Your goal should be to find a creative partner that is dedicated to the success of your business and willing to put in the work to get you to the next level.

Communication & Responsiveness

Communication is one of the most important signs to look out for when vetting an agency and deciding on a partner. An honest and effective agency will be sure to keep you updated on progress, discuss any challenges, and proactively suggest solutions. When vetting an agency, you can look at the responsiveness of email or SMS and how they communicate online through channels like blogs, websites, and social media. Is it of high quality? Does it share their vision and values? These are only a few of the things to keep in mind when evaluating.

Budget Costs

Along the same lines as our first recommendation, when looking at the goals of your business, it is equally important to consider your budget and situation. If your business is in its earlier stages, you may not need to hire a creative agency but contract freelancers to help you reach the next level. Alternatively, larger organizations may want to build an in-house team of copywriters, graphics designers, and other suitable roles for your marketing endeavours.

What to Ask When Interviewing a Creative Agency

The interview process of looking for the right creative agency for your business can be strenuous but will help to give you a better outlook on the viability of them as a partner. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of questions that might be worth asking:

  • Can you provide some previous examples of work you’ve done within our industry or similar projects? Can you elaborate on any challenges you faced during these projects and how they were resolved?
  • What is your approach to the creative process? Could you walk us through the steps from conceptualization to execution?
  • How do you stay updated on the latest trends and ensure that your creative concepts are relevant? Do you have any examples of this? 
  • Can you provide further information on your team’s experience and where their expertise lies? 
  • Are you adaptable to change and able to meet tight deadlines? Can you provide some examples of this having been done in the past?
  • How do you handle feedback and revision? Who will be our main point of contact and will keep us informed on progress? 
  • How do you measure the success of your creative campaigns? What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you use, and how do you track and analyze the results?
  • What steps do you take to protect our brand’s identity and intellectual property? 

This is not an exhaustive list but a good start to evaluating an agency and determining if they have some of the qualities that we had discussed in the sections above.

Get Started with CJAM

At CJAM, we recognize the significance of choosing the perfect creative agency to achieve your objectives. Our thorough vetting process ensures that the agencies and contractors we collaborate with possess the expertise and capabilities to drive your business forward. We exclusively work with the best in the industry, providing you with the confidence that partnering with us means connecting with professionals well-suited to your business’s unique needs.

Schedule a call with us today, and let’s discuss your business to gain an understanding of your specific needs. With CJAM as your trusted advisor, you can confidently enter an agency meeting knowing they are skilled in their craft and have your business’s best interest in mind.

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Written By
Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi started CJAM Marketing after realizing that most business owners don’t know how to evaluate the value of a marketing agency or assess their own needs. Since every business is different not only in their needs but where they are at in the growth process, it isn’t a one size fits all. In the past 5 years, Behdad (or Bee) has met with and assessed 800+ marketing agencies and vetted them down to a lean 100 preferred partners across all marketing niches. After pairing hundreds of businesses with the right partners, he’s found his skillset lies in the matchmaking process. Featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post and the Financial Post, Bee’s unique background in marketing, engineering, consulting, leadership, sales and strategy, has allowed him to serve as the conduit between business owners and the marketing teams they need.
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