A Clear Agency Brand Provides Focus for New Business.

focus on agency branding

A strong brand stands out, and in this complex world we operate in that’s vital for survival.

For those of you who have worked with us in the past you know we like to hammer the idea that you need a strong agency brand to compete in today’s market. It answers how to describe your firm and tells you what services to offer. If you know what you stand for you can match up your prospects and target them. Perhaps more importantly a strong brand can help answer which prospects to pass on.

Many marketing firms are afraid to stand for anything. Mostly out of fear of losing a potential prospect. However if you are clear in what you stand for it shows your view of what’s important. This lets a prospect know quickly whether or not you are in step with their view of the way things work – you stand out to THAT prospect. The one you are really looking for. Other agencies, who try to stand for anything and everything, really project “gray” and don’t match up well with a firm clearly branded.

The runaway bestseller Good To Great/Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t provides insight into how to brand your firm.

The Characteristics That Cause the Jump From Good to Great:

1. Level 5 Leadership

  • Think Lincoln, not Patton
  • Quiet, reflective, curious, compassionate, tough management style (Headline Logo)

2. Right People on the Bus

  • People are not your agency’s most important asset. The right people are the most important asset in the agency
  • Job #1: get the right people

3. Confront the Brutal Facts About Your Business/Industry

  • Advertising is now viewed as a commodity
  • Too many agencies still around, even after the biggest shakeout in history
  • Most agencies now treated as vendors
  • Clients see few differences in agencies
  • Client confidence in advertising is declining
  • Clients view marketing as tactical and that means advertising is viewed as very tactical
  • Marketing communications often delegated down to lower-level staffers
  • Strategic high ground is now owned by consultants who have the ear of the corporate CEO
  • Consulting is a bigger business than all marketing communications
  • Consulting is growing much faster than marketing communications
  • These trends wouldn’t change or improve for our industry in foreseeable future

4. Adopt a Culture of Discipline

  • Manage to standards
  • Drive out complexity with better management
  • Understand that discipline brings efficiency
  • Know that agency structure has biggest impact on agency efficiency
  • Focus on productivity and seek a 25% improvement in productivity which doubles margins

5. Use Carefully Selected Technology to Accelerate Performance

  • Avoid the bleeding edge
  • Embrace the advantages of the technology you select

6. Adopt the Fly Wheel as Your Model for Growth

  • Series of small steps gets the fly wheel turning
  • Use each win to increase performance
  • Increased performance speeds up wins

Using Good To Great to Brand Your Agency:

  • Determine what are your Good To Great circles
  • Find your Sweet Spot
  • Shape that into a Hedgehog Concept that’ll work in your market
  • Dream big and express your Hedgehog Concept in a BHAG
  • Find your best growth opportunities and stick to those only
  • Build your brand so you maximize those opportunities
  • Set up your new business program to support the brand
  • Integrate your brand into everything you do and live the brand
  • Get set to move from good to great
  • Take the credit. You did it

We’ve helped many marketing firms with their brand by understanding our industry, the market, and having experience with thousands of similar firms. Mostly we know what works, and what doesn’t. Often times a one-day session with us provides you with the creative fodder to remove any logjams in deciding which way to go. Free of the “unknown” most marketing firms are then successful in launching a new brand.

If you are thinking about your agency brand, give us a call – 412.897.9329 or email us at [email protected]. It could save you from making a costly mistake.


Photo by Philippe Put and used under creative commons