Dating! Some do it for fun and others do it in search of love. There’s a saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you can find your Prince. Unfortunately, some of us have had to kiss more frogs than others, but regardless, dating is a necessary process when trying to understand what qualities you value in your search for a serious relationship.
In many ways, the process a law firm or accounting firm goes through when finding an agency to help them rebrand is very similar. Many businesses have an idea of what they want in terms of a new brand, a new website and companion mobile website, or even a new logo, but not every agency is able to share their vision. Because there are many different branding and marketing agencies to choose from, it’s important to select carefully before the interview process. Does the agency have experience with professional services firms? An all-important question that sometimes gets overlooked by firms looking for an agency.
Think of “the interview” as the first date. Which agency makes the cut? Common red flags a firm should watch out for when being courted by an agency:
1. The Free-Loader. A person who goes on a date in search of a free meal. Some agencies will work with firms simply because they want the business, not because they feel genuine interest or a sense of responsibility towards the client. Split the check? Yeah right.
2. The Selfish Carnivore. This is the person who insists on taking their vegan date to a steakhouse because they're the one who wants to eat steak. Some agencies will claim to “listen” to what a firm wants for their website, for instance, then incorporate a completely different design strategy. Listening is a skill and not every person or agency has it. They would rather do it their way then take into account the needs of the firm.
3. The Passive-Aggressive Personality. A person who, instead of telling you that you have food on the corner of your mouth, just keeps pointing at your face. When asked if something is wrong, the answer is “nothing". Your firm shouldn’t want to associate with an agency who isn’t interested in collaborating or sharing thoughts, opinions and suggestions based on expertise and experience.
You should expect the agency you hire to provide their expertise and give you their opinions on what they think is best for your firm’s brand, whether that is how the website is developed or even what font to use on a business card. You want an agency that is willing to work with you to achieve your goals as well as provide expertise and suggestions when needed. In order for there to be a strong and solid relationship, there needs to be a mutual respect and understanding-a true and equal partnership-because without that, neither agency nor firm will be able to succeed in helping any business reach its full potential. Now, THAT’s worth kissing a few frogs for!