Finding a new advertising partner is always an exciting time as a fresh start always offers the promise of increased business opportunities. Yet as with any relationship the process of finding the right long-term partner should not be just about the initial contact. Finding that new agency needs to be well planned and always done for the right reasons. Below are a number of points for consideration before setting out on this often challenging process.
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From the infographic:
1. Only pitch if it is truly the last resort. Pitching is a costly exercise in terms of time and money and potentially exposes your business to your competitors.
2. Gain Internal Alignment. Engage all key disciplines within your company including legal and procurement at the start, to ensure you fulfill the requirements of due diligence and corporate compliance.
3. The Search Brief. Write a thorough brief on what you want from an agency and importantly, what you don’t, and get alignment across all key stakeholders.
4. First Date to Fourth. Create a staged process with written Credentials, chemistry meetings, strategy workshops and creative presentations to gauge how agencies work as a team and how they collaborate with your team.
5. Define your strategic issue concisely. Give the agencies a very defined problem you want solved. The more defined the problem, the less confidential information you have to share and the more focused their response will be.
6. Use the Creative Pitch wisely. Never invite more than three agencies to pitch creative because if you can’t decide before then, you will never make the right choice after.
7. Invest time in the process. Be willing to spend time with all of the agencies through chemistry meetings, Q&A sessions, strategic workshops and creative tissue meetings to replicate a client-agency relationship and giving you a sense of how you might work together on an ongoing basis.
8. Setting Expectations. If you do have a creative pitch stage (because you just can’t decide between the last two or three) be clear how you want the agencies to present ideas and concepts and how much detail you require.
9. Copyright. Don’t ask the agency to assign copyright to you unless you are willing to pay for it. After all, if they don’t value their intellectual property, why should you?