Throughout my career when asked “Where do you work?“, my response of “A creative agency” is regularly met with a deer in the headlights stare. Their followup is “A what? A creative agency, what’s that?” I found a great video from Engine Creative that further demonstrates that point that a lot of individuals are unclear about what people and businesses in the creative trade do.
I felt it was time to help educate the masses about what services fall under a creative agency.
One of my favourite quotes that I’ve come across over the years is “A brand is a space you occupy in someone’s mind”. A brand is not a name or logo, a brochure or website, or a campaign or advertisement. A brand is the culmination of an endless list of touchpoints and perceptions that are established and create a unified impression in a consumer’s mind. If this endless lists touchpoint exist, then who can help unify the message behind all of those variables… a creative agency.
A creative agency is a company that offers a combination of strategy, marketing, conceptualization, design, technology and advertising all wrapped together in one place. Gone are the days when a project simply needed graphic design with no other disciplines to make it effective. Nowadays, creative agencies are the go-to source for that next creative initiative that brings together all the pieces into one and brings ideas to life in the process.
The first step is to understand there are different types of services under the wing of a creative agency. They include:
Every good idea starts with a well thought-out strategy. In the case of a creative agency, strategy is a core essential in the process of coming up with a marketing solution. It includes clarifying objectives, establishing process, assessing market position, understanding brand attributes, understanding brand tone, analyzing audience, analyzing competitors and more.
Creating the right design can bring any great idea to life. Design is one of the core facets of most creative agencies. This embodies graphic design, traditional print media design, digital design, website design, and branding. Where a creative agency can help is ensuring the design meets objectives, brand attributes and the tone you wish to communicate in marketing materials.
Defining your position online today can be very challenging. An interactive/creative agency can assist with your online presence through tasks such as website user experience planning, website information architecture, web design, web development, social media strategy, digital advertising, e-communications, app design/development, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing, online analytics, and software development.
Getting your message out with the right advertising medium and to the right audience is crucial. Many creative agencies offer advertising planning and media buying services. Whether the strategy comes from a creative agency or outside advertising agency, the important part is that the creative and position is well planned. At minimum, a creative agency helps to bring a campaign strategy to life through the development of traditional print advertising, online advertising, video or radio.
As an art director at a small boutique creative agency, everyday I am in awe of the varied types of projects that can come across our desks. Every project is different and requires the intertwining of services to come together in a new way every time. We work methodically to identity problems and opportunities, establish a solution and implement that solution. The greatest strength of a creative agency is to rely on the diversity of experience in its employees. By allowing the skills set of designers, developers, strategists, copywriters, printers and more, a meaningful and effective campaign can come together that best helps to yield success.
One additional classification to address is the term “boutique creative agency”. This is simply a smaller sized creative agency. The staff is smaller, the overhead is lower, but the ideas are just as big. Some of the big benefits of working with a boutique creative agency is the highly personalized service you receive. A boutique agency offers you direct access to the key leader(s) in the business. Additionally, a boutique creative agency has the flexibility to be agile and to run their practice according to their best ideals. The biggest benefit of all is the small budget to a national or global firm is a gigantic budget to work from for a boutique firm.
Video credit: http://www.enginecreative.co.uk/