Why can’t I get what I want from my agency?

By Stephanie Bradshaw
Creative Director

How to engage your creative agency to get the best and most relevant work out of them with a minimum amount of fuss.

Ever had that moment? You’ve been waiting excitedly for several weeks. The agency’s standing in front of you, about to present their big idea/concept/logo/storyline. Then wham! You’re completely blind-sided. What were they thinking? You hate it.

It’s not what you were expecting, doesn’t solve your problem, isn’t on brand. Whatever it is. It’s just not right.

Lucky for me, this rarely happens at Bunch. Why? It’s not because we are brilliant (or perhaps it is!). We just know there are certain things we need to know, before we can get down and dirty in the creative space.

Here are 5 tips to getting what you want from your creative agency:

The brief is king! Or queen. Yes it is. It should have any relevant background information, be very carefully written and include everything you want. You see, creative people connect things, that’s how we come up with great ideas, and if we don’t have all the dots to connect, we can miss the point entirely.

Have all decision makers sign off the brief before it goes to the agency. You may have written the perfect brief from your own perspective but Mary in Marketing and Kendall in Corporate Affairs are just as invested, and you all need to agree. Compile all the information, sense-check it for contradictions and get it signed off by all.

Don’t be too prescriptive unless you want to narrow the agency’s creativity. For example, if you want your new logo to be a red monkey and you brief a red monkey, you will get a red monkey. Perhaps instead let them know you’d like it bold (instead of red) and cheeky (instead of a monkey). You’ll get a wider variety of ideas, perhaps something you’d never considered. Hoorah! This goes for all kinds of communications. Don’t say you want a conference; say you want to engage a group of people around your product/idea/initiative. You see where I’m going with this? Obviously, if it has to be a conference or a red monkey for any reason – just say that.

There are certain things that are going to cost what they cost: flights, bread rolls, 2,000 A4 flyers, a mars bar. Creativity isn’t one of them. For designers, writers, creators, film makers and illustrators, a good brief, including a set budget (or budget range), gives us the parameters to play within. The confidence to not restrict our thinking. Because we know we are producing something that is based in reality.

Fabulous creative work doesn’t happen quickly and generally your agency are working on 5… 10… 50… other projects at any one time. Creative people want to set aside special time to focus on your project. Then, generally, they want to experiment and test their ideas. At Bunch, we often include our clients in these testing/experimenting phases so we are co-creating the right solution. All of this takes time. I know from experience that our clients often don’t have all the information to write a brief in time to give us time. But we are always happy to know in advance of getting a brief, schedule some time in early and then help you co-create your brief. As a client, you’ll be paying for that upfront consultation, but it’s money well spent as a brief co-created often results in a creative that hits the mark first go!

Yes. Engaging a creative agency is a lot of work. But the more you prepare, the more you’ll get out of your agency and the less head aches further down the line. And don’t forget the cost savings and faster turnaround times!

What’s the one thing to remember while you’re on your journey? We all want the same thing, the best possible solution…the one that rocks your world and ours too.


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