Financial Services – creative agency search and selection

Client Category – Financial Services – Agency Search and Selection

Challenging Problem:

The client had been using creative agencies on an ad hoc basis with no retainers in place.

Whilst this had worked satisfactorily to date, there was a desire for more of a partnership not only for added value and greater consistency but also for efficiency both from a time perspective, not having to brief a different agency for every project, and from a financial one, being able to talk to someone without the clock ticking and hourly fees being charged.

On the verge of a new phase of the brand’s evolution, the client wondered how to find the right marketing agency – a culturally compatible strategic and creative partner to work with on a retained basis for the foreseeable future.

Creative Solution:

TrinityP3 conducted a full Search & Selection process in order to:

  1. Assess agency credentials and chemistry with the client
  2. Explore strategic capability and compatibility
  3. Benchmark financials and assist with negotiations

Whilst Creative Development was part of the process, the client was made aware it was only one stage of a 5-stage process and should not be used solely to determine a preferred partner.


The process began with TrinityP3’s Industry Search of the market based on the client brief.

From the report presented to the client, 7 agencies were shortlisted, only one of which was requested by the client. All agencies submitted written Credentials Documents and were invited to hold a Chemistry Meeting with the client at their offices.

Credentials and Chemistry Meetings were scored based on an agreed criteria with the client and from those scores, the commentary and further discussion, a final 3 agencies were asked to conduct a half day Strategy Workshop based on a Client Communications Brief.

Simultaneously, these agencies were asked to complete a financial template created from a client supplied Scope of Work, upon which TrinityP3 would conduct a complete Benchmarking Analysis and recommendation for financial discussions with each agency.

Following the Strategy Workshop all agencies provided a one page Creative Brief summarising the outcome of the workshop, essentially providing an indication of the strategic direction they would take should they successfully progress to creative development stage. Scorecards and discussion indicated all 3 agencies were very difficult to rank and at this point the client requested all 3 agencies be given the opportunity to present creative (normal process is to shortlist to 2 agencies).

Subsequently, all 3 agencies participated in a Creative Pitch at the client’s offices and following final financial discussions with the preferred agency, a new creative partner was appointed.


The process took approximately 16 weeks from briefing TrinityP3 through to appointment, including allowances for delays due to client commitments.

Result and feedback:

While early days, there are already great signs of strong communication and chemistry between both client and agency.

The client has explored various retainer models and seems to have found one that strikes a good balance between retained and project fees. Work has commenced on the new campaign and all parties remain excited and inspired about the partnership moving forward.