It is a real joy for me to meander through the advertising world and see what other folks are doing. What are they excited about? What new approaches are working or blowing up in someone’s face? What are the advertising legends reminiscing about? These and other questions can start me down new paths of adventure for my own efforts and the benefit of my employer.
I came across an Orange County, CA ad agency website yesterday with an entertaining and colorful layout that -in my opinion- was intended to appeal to small- or medium-sized companies. I clicked on “the company” and began to read their brief history.
Soon enough I came upon a typical statement that shows they are trying to come across as revolutionary idea generators:
After spending more than twenty years in the marketing industry, working for large firms and corporations, the B Scene staff all agreed that marketing and advertising had become “vanilla” – boring and lacking in impact.
Somehow, this collection of “twenty-two friends, family members, and associates” became bored with modern advertising. In the 1990′s. During the dot-com era. During an Olympic year. During a Clinton election year. When huge advertising profits and high creativity were ripe for the picking.
They claim they were bored, but I think the adjective is incorrect. It is more likely that they were boring. Staring into the kaleidoscope of advertising activity during that time and seeing nothing inspiring shows a lack of awareness and understanding of the world around them. Was the birth of the internet not amazing? Did the pageantry and cross-promotion of the Olympics interrupt their nap? The pent-up excitement of the pending new millennium fail to excite them.
So they started an agency. But this is an ideal example of why a business hiring an ad agency needs to be cautious about accepting status quo. Your company’s reputation, product, revenue, and even personnel are affected by the advertising and marketing efforts you embark upon. Look for unique ideas. Seek out talented teams with passion for creation and innovation, not bigger ego and bigger wallets.
Here are some things to look for in an ad agency:
1) An idea that you don’t completely embrace – Let someone take you down a new path and explore a different opportunity for your brand.
2) Excitement for their industry – if they are “bored” with advertising, find someone who isn’t!
3) Quality instead of quantity – Don’t overlook the small agencies simply because they have a small team. Let their ability carry greater weight and make sure they understand the word “freelance”.
4) Understanding – It shouldn’t be necessary for them to have worked in your industry before, but make sure they understand it. They need to know what your customers are looking for, who they are, and what they will do with your product once they have it.
Ad agencies can be a very wise investment. After all, if you were great at advertising, you would work in advertising. Hiring an ad agency can let you do your job better while bringing in a talented and energetic team to maximize your advertising return on investment.