Over some very pleasurable afterwork beers last night, with a group of very senior marketeers, the question came up “Does an agency’s philosophy matter?”
The marketeers response was a little surprising to me. ..
You see, despite the thought put in by agencies as to whether they call themselves Brand Entertainment Experts, proponents of Ideas Incorporated or Advocacy Specialists etc, marketeers really don’t often pay that stuff any attention.
Not one of the marketeers, who each work with multiple PR and digital agencies, could actually recall the straplines or philosophies of any of those agencies, or indeed any agency. Being agency side I seem to have absorbed the straplines and ‘proprietory’ approaches of most of the big PR agencies and have paid a great deal of attention to them, in a way client-side marketeers just don’t.
While the marketeers weren’t particularly concerned with the philosophy of any given agency looking to work for them, they were very concerned with on the ground attitude of an agency:
•Availability of key client contacts
•Willingness to resolve screw-ups (without charging more!)
I think an agency’s sense of it’s own unique approach does matter, just perhaps more to the people in the agency than those outside of it.
What was also pointed out in the course of discussion is that however “360” an agency makes its offering, many clients simply want a straight answer as to whether they should consider you to be primarily a PR agency, media buying agency, ad agency, specialist digital agency. There is now a latent acceptance that all these types of agencies will be able to provide a level of digital work.