We help ambitious entrepreneurs build their brand futures. After asking our ambitious clients how they choose a creative partner, we used their responses to help us compile a four-step approach to finding the right agency for your brand.

Know your own needs

Get specific and ask yourself a few questions, e.g. am I looking for ad-hoc services or do I want to grow my brand and bottom line? What kind of results do I want to see? How will my consumers and stakeholders benefit? 

Design is only the tip of the iceberg, especially when it comes to growing your brand. So your answers to these questions will help you get a tight brief together, and from there, find the right creative match.

Narrow it down

So how do you make a shortlist? Cost is a key factor. Consider whether your budget meets the agency’s expectations. If not, you’re either looking at the wrong type of agency, or you need to re-evaluate your budget. Consider also the cost differences between each agency and whether these reflect expertise, overheads, or their perceptions of the project’s value.

If you don’t have a budget in mind, decide what you’re willing to spend to get the desired results. Think from your own business preceptive, i.e. how much value the results could bring. And don’t worry about offering a figure that’s higher than an agency’s projection – most agencies are honest and ethical, and already have a cost structure in place that’s unaffected by a client's budget.

Find the chemistry (and don't ask for free pitches!)

By this stage, you’ll know what type of agency you want, and what budget works for you both. You now need to narrow it down to one or two agencies. Look at their client list and online case studies. Ask questions about their team, their creative direction, and project management style. 

Perhaps you like an agency that doesn’t have any experience in your field. Remember there’s a first time for everything, and don’t underestimate the power of a fresh approach. Be open and ask why they want to work on your project, and how they’ll handle this lack of experience.

We’d advise against asking for free pitches though. More and more agencies are refusing these on principle and for good reason. Free work devaluates our expertise and does your brand no favours either. 

Build the relationship

At this point, you’ve probably found your creative match. Treat it like any new relationship and communicate clearly. Take time to figure out the best way to work together and be upfront about your expectations. And if you’re unsure about anything, just ask – any good agency will be only too happy to help. At the end of the day, everyone wants good relationships that are mutually beneficial. Good luck!