Choosing the Best Creative Agency for You

How do you choose a creative agency for your business or non-profit?

It’s a big, important question. And if it was something you could just ask Siri, then you wouldn’t be here…

With the rise of entrepreneurship and an industry that is beginning to value smaller, more personal agencies over big city players, there are now a host of creatives to choose from for your whatever it is you and your business has on its 2015 to-do list.

This should be good news, but the truth is…it is really hard to find a creative agency that is:

  • Experienced
  • Reliable
  • Uses industry-leading techniques and technology
  • Personable and knows how to flesh out ideas and strategies
  • Trustworthy

And that doesn’t even cover an extremely obvious need: you need to enjoy what they create and their style!

Many times business owners and non-profit boards miss this major point, even if it may seem the most obvious. They’ll find a creative agency online that has had some success in their previous work, and equate previous success with a past client into that same success with them in the future.

They don’t realize at the time that their industry may be brand new to that agency, or that their style of design or marketing has no place in the space they wish to hire them into.

It’s like asking a highly skilled carpenter to mend a tear in your favorite jeans, and then being upset when they don’t know what a “running stitch” is!

So what can you use to evaluate the best creative agency for you. Some of it depends on the makeup of your own company:

Are you local, regional, national, or international?

While the internet obviously makes things a lot easier, sometimes being able to physically sit down with your creative partner makes the biggest impact. And if you’re flying them cross-country for a meeting every week, prepare for things to cost you a lot more. If you are an international business, you’re everywhere. The world is your oyster.

It goes without saying, but what is your creative budget?

Most people thing I’m talking about receiving a sky-high estimate back from a potential agency, but it’s more the contrary issue that leaves businesses and non-profits in ruins… That marketing campaign for the 2024 Olympics in Boston?, it ain’t cheap. Don’t get too excited when Joe’s Creative Agency sends you a quote for $200 – they don’t understand that some things will take time and money. Sometimes a too-good-to-be-true estimate is exactly that. Look for an agency that can explain the value of every aspect of what they are doing.

There a few other factors to recommend when you are figuring out which design or marketing company is right for you. Take them as they apply:

Personalities

Rest assured, there are many. This can make or break your relationship and can cost you down the road if not taken seriously. The creative agency director takes on many forms, none any more right or wrong, but some will rub you the wrong way. For example: I have never worn a suit and tie to a meeting, and most likely never will (I think you need to own a suit in order to wear it?). If you want your creative partner looking like he’s from Reservoir Dogs, I’m not your guy.

Style

I mentioned this in passing earlier, but it’s really important. Smaller marketing companies and creative agencies who don’t employ legions of graphic designers and artists typically stick to a more specific style of work. This isn’t a limitation, they’re doing what they are good at. Just be careful. Look at their previous work and see if it varies. Having a style doesn’t mean everything looks the same.

Enthusiasm

You want to make sure whomever you decide to choose to take charge of your marketing, web design, and/or branding needs is enthused to have your business. If getting you a quote felt like pulling teeth, they probably don’t see the benefit of working for you. Drop them quickly. This enthusiasm is needed throughout your relationship, especially down the road when you might have to dig your heels in and grind out a slow quarter or season of business. If they can’t share in your excitement, don’t let them share your money either.

Confidence

This one can go either way, so judge accordingly. Good confidence is when your creative partner is willing to tell you that not every single idea you’ve had is a good one – followed by what they’d recommend instead. Bad confidence is believing every single idea they’ve ever had is a good one. Need I say more?

At the end of the day, learning how to pick the best creative agency to lead you down the path of glory is up to you and your business partners. You’ll need to weigh all the pros and cons, many of which I mentioned here. It’s an important decision that can make or break your marketing efforts.

My final piece of advice…contact Mindbrew Creative. Just try it. We are always striving to be the most exciting, enthusiastic, confident (in a good way) creative agency out there. We also are honest, and will let you know if we aren’t the best partner for you. We like having fun at work, so we don’t take on a client who wont make us want to get to the office early every morning.

Forrest Musselman

fmusselman@mindbrewcreative.com

Forrest holds a B.A. in English from Framingham State University. Prior to Mindbrew Creative, he spent time working and interning with larger agencies, where he was able to learn from influential creative leaders. Using his homegrown skills in web and graphic design, Forrest paid his way through college (Gordon College, Temple University, & Framingham State) and was able to grow long-lasting relationships in both Greater Boston and Greater Philadelphia (his two favorite cities), that have become invaluable to Mindbrew’s success. Forrest is a foodie who loves to spend quality time with family, enjoy the outdoors, grill, and jam out on his 3-piece drum kit.