This is one common complaint you can hear in the advertising industry. Having worked both sides of the fence, I can sympathize with the poor agencies who get knocked on the head, and I can empathize with the clients who see good money wasted on hapless campaigns.
But since that statement is made "client side", let me address it from there. Surprisingly, there are great agencies with fantastic creative teams that produce really shoddy work. How can this be? The same award winning team for XYZ Brand comes over to market your absolutely fabulous product and makes a boo-boo out of it.
Now, all things being equal, it is unlikely that the team has consumed all their creativity and are now empty husks working on your account! I would like to propose one highly possible, and most likely cause for this strange phenomena.
This is related to a little piece of paper which we often call an "Agency Brief" or as most Marketing Executives like to call it "my boss unreasonable demand that I stay up past midnight to finish this
silly brief". You see, the Executive thinks that the product is so well known, the company is so famous, the agency is so capable, there is nothing that needs to be said. Go for the meeting, tell them we
want a nice creative advertisement for our Chinese New Year offer, throw in a poster and a direct mailer. Done. No need for some silly "Agency Brief".
That's not the right attitude.
To get the most out of your advertising agency, you, as a client; will need to take some time and effort to create a solid Agency Brief. No matter that the agency has been with your company for 10 years. No matter that the guys and gals there live and breath your products "too". Unlike you, they do NOT work for your company. They each likely have lots of other clients, other projects.
How do you create a good Agency Brief? You will have to cover all grounds from your company's perspective to the marketplace to your clients'. On a broad stroke, you will need to cover these bare essentials at the very least:
- Objectives, what exactly are you hoping to achieve
- Target audience, who will likely be the ones to buy your product
- Your offer mechanics
- Your desired effect or results
- Your budget
Creating an Agency Brief is perhaps the most fundamental ingredient for a client who really wishes to get the best out of his advertising agency. Of course, this applies if you are working with a freelance designer, a graphics house or any other creative agencies.