You wouldn’t marry someone you didn’t know anything about. The same is true of hiring a full-service creative agency. Whether you’re a fledgling or established brand, hiring an agency can take your business to the next level. But before you swipe right, you’ve gotta put your game face on. We’ll make it easy for you by providing a checklist so you have background knowledge and the right questions to ask before popping the question.
First, What Does It Mean to Be a Full-Service Creative Agency?
A full-service creative agency is about more than style (and a kick-ass portfolio); it’s about substance. Essentially, an agency executes and manages all the marketing efforts for its clients. So, understanding what services and teams are behind the work will set reasonable expectations early in the relationship.
On a basic level, a full-service creative agency should provide foundational services like brand strategy and brand positioning. Creating a brand strategy is a collaborative process where you work with an agency to identify your strengths, gaps in your current strategy, competition, and what distinguishes you in your industry. With this in place, they can position your brand in the market and, more importantly, in the minds of consumers. Doing this requires slick detective work, like diving into market research, customer profiling, and trend analysis. From here, you can expect the design and development teams to roll out a new logo and website while the content and marketing team provides SEO-rich copy across your platform and social channels.
If you think you need a huge team to make the magic happen, remember substance over style. (Read: bigger doesn’t always mean better.) Agency teams should be large enough to meet your goals but not so big that agility and communication are compromised.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s dive into your hiring checklist.
Make, Sure It’s a Match
Once you’ve found an agency that fits the full-service criteria outlined above, you can start the get-to-know-you phase. To make sure an agency is “the one,” you’re going to have to channel Barbara Walters and ask some probing questions upfront:
- What is your onboarding process like?
- How are meetings structured?
- How collaborative are you?
- Do you have a multidisciplinary team?
- Have you worked with clients in our industry before?
At Savy, we know the answers to the above (and more) are critical. They let us gauge the rapport and communication style vibe and see if we’re a match.
Besides answering if you’ll be meeting in person or on Zoom, this step lets you get to know individual team members. Savy’s multidisciplinary team comprises project directors, marketing directors, web developers, writers, and graphic designers. Look through our bios; you’ll find SEO wizards, globally-minded designers, and journalistically-trained talent.
Early on, connecting on a personal level builds trust and confidence, which are the foundation of any successful relationship!
Scope Out the Process
Knowing how design, development, copywriting, and advertising teams bring the vision to life will help inform your expectations, so you’re not wondering if there’s a missing element. This involves, you guessed it, more questions:
What Does Design and Development Entail?
At Savy, our development team engineers scalable solutions with frontend and backend development that make sites as seamless and user-friendly as possible. The alchemy of technical development and design components makes this stage particularly magical. You’re watching a visual story bring your brand to life without words. Savy’s web developers and graphic designers are masters of their craft and use colors, images, and user-friendly design to communicate our client’s brand position.
What Does the Content Writing Process Look Like?
The content team reinforces the brand position by writing copy that supports the message and voice. Your content team should tell your story seamlessly through onsite copy, ongoing social support, and strategic campaigns. The copy should sound like your brand, be concise, and engage your audience. At Savy, our SEO-rich content is a blend of strategic research and brand storytelling that get your brand noticed by search engines and potential customers alike.
What Type of Ad Campaigns Does The Marketing Team Create?
A new look and updated voice can only get you so far. Cue the PPC, SEM, and integrated marketing campaigns! These marketing tools build brand awareness so that those admirers become customers. Savy has been creating these campaigns since 2000, and we’re a top 3% Google Partner, so we know how to create ads that hook the right customer at the right time.
Establish An Ongoing Relationship
It’s time for the “what are we?” talk. Luckily, you decide what kind of relationship you want with an agency. At Savy, we can work with clients to provide ongoing support, including social media across channels, targeted newsletters, SEO-rich blogs, and website updates.
Lean on your agency for support service guidance. Ask the following questions to get a better idea of what your brand needs in terms of ongoing support to maintain your success:
- How many blogs per month are enough to increase traffic?
- What social media platforms are the most relevant to our brand?
- What do you need us to provide so that you can create engaging, meaningful content?
- How long is the turnaround on website updates?
- Do we need a newsletter or other email marketing campaigns?
- How often should we meet for check-ins?
- Do you provide visual content?
This is your chance to take full advantage of your agency’s expertise. Ultimately, your company makes final decisions, but it’s a good idea to base those decisions on your creative agency’s knowledge and experience.
See What You Can Create Together
The best way to visualize what’s possible with a full-service creative agency is to peruse its portfolio. You can think of it as our dating profile, giving you an idea of who we are and what we’re capable of.
Fix & Repeat
When Bend-based vegan cafe, Fix & Repeat, approached Savy for a brand refresh, they had just changed ownership and started to get their legs under them after COVID rocked the restaurant world. With extensive client interviews and competitive research, we outlined the brand’s differentiators and unique voice while preserving the brand’s already-established value in the community.
Mission 22 had a lofty goal: to bring awareness to and fight the statistic that 22 Veterans a day commit suicide. The Sisters-based nonprofit came to Savy to boost its social media presence and an updated brand voice that would allow them to bring some levity to this heavy issue. With new internal brand guidelines, Savy became M22’s ongoing support partner, creating redesigned newsletters, implementing social media across all channels, and driving strategic campaigns.
Real estate company, Resident, wanted to put the real back in real estate. To help them achieve this goal, Savy redesigned its website to be modern, dynamic, and image-forward while communicating its brand story through SEO-rich copy and a research-backed social media presence.
An agency’s work should display flexibility in meeting challenges. You should see unique solutions tailored to individual client’s specific needs and desires. If an agency’s case studies and portfolio get you inspired and excited to start your journey, that’s a great sign!
Invest In Your Brand’s Success With A Full-Service Creative Agency
Fortune favors the bold, and hiring a digital marketing agency is a bold move that pays off. Before you pop the question and hire an agency, ensure your interactions include green flags like excellent communication and a “get shit done” attitude. At Savy, our client’s success is our success, and our work reflects our passion for producing measurable results. Contact us to see what’s possible for your brand.