Hiring a marketing agency means taking into consideration everything they’re about, from work ethic to company culture.
The easiest way to determine whether or not they’re the right fit for you is by checking whether your organisational values align with theirs.
Of course, when it comes to the agency selection process, things can get complicated, and you may find yourself forgetting to factor in certain core beliefs that are actually a deal breaker for some of your employees. But worry not, because the team at Cognition Agency have done their research and determined that there are 3 key values that you should be on the lookout for while scouting your next agency partner.
The importance of agency values
Digital thinking often requires venturing outside your comfort zone – and choosing an agency with similar values to your own business is no exception. Every digital marketing agency puts their own stamp on the creative process, sure, but what about how they treat their employees or other clients like you? This could be the question that determines success for your business or brand, and it’s important to ask it early on.
Ultimately, agency values are what distinguish a supportive, co-operative working relationship from a nasty, meaningless one that benefits neither party. In the digital industry, there are many client-agency horror stories, some of which even make the national news. Simply checking to see if their values match yours means that you both get to avoid any awkward, unpleasant conversations further down the line.
How can agency values affect your business?
No two workplaces are the same anymore (some might lay out fresh fruit before the Monday meeting, some give ad hoc annual leave, others ensure there’s always karaoke queued up at the end of a difficult week). But all the above have one thing in common: they’re underpinned by values. And how an agency treats its employees will inevitably have a direct bearing on how you treat yours.
The best client-agency collaborations are those that take into account employees on both sides of the deal. For instance, if an agency arranges for its staff to take the coming Friday off for their mental health, you will at the very least be expected to honour that commitment – and perhaps extend it to include your own workforce. Creating a strong company culture is one of the techniques agencies use to retain talent, and a good example of how agency values can positively impact people’s everyday working lives.
Secrets of a successful agency relationship – 3 core values
When you think about it, a client can work with any agency on the market and vice versa, as long as the former’s business needs are met. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a successful relationship will develop between the two parties. For that to happen, the following 3 factors must first be taken into account:
- External influence
- Internal influence
- Cultural influence
Mulling over how to choose the right marketing agency is, of course, a lengthy process, but bearing the above pillars in mind while making practical decisions should help get you started down the correct path.
1. External influence
External influences play a much bigger role in our work and lives than we care to admit. In life, they often appear without us ever fully paying attention – everything from value-added tax (VAT) to being refused service at a restaurant if inappropriately dressed counts as external influence. But in business, external influences come from a wide range of more visible sources, such as:
- The economy
- Industry factors
- Public opinion and societal expectations
- Changes in technology
External influences can and do have the power to decide if a client-agency pairing goes ahead or not. Take our work for Cisco’s sustainability initiative, for example. This brief came to Cognition Agency as the client’s direct response to public opinion surrounding the environment and doing everything we can to save the planet. If there wasn’t a strong social consensus driving the activity here, the client may very well have neglected the activity or perhaps not even have run it at all.
2. Internal influence
When deciding on an agency partnership, internal influence within both your business and theirs could be a deciding factor. Internal influences can be found everywhere in the day-to-day running of your organisation, and include things like:
- Business goals
- Human resources
- Working environment
Any of the above factors may seem workplace exclusive, but if your business and an agency are to join forces, there must be synergy between them all to some extent. For example, if yours is a company utilising a fully remote or hybrid work model, you’ll be best positioned to hire an agency that does the same. This will help avoid scheduling conflicts and manage expectations with regard to work-life balance on both sides.
Cognition Agency puts the following 3 values at the heart of everything we do internally:
- 1. Speed
- 2. Simplicity
- 3. Courage
Establishing our agency identity through these core values means that we can let leads know exactly what distinguishes us from other potential marketing partners, while at the same time setting a clear standard of work and professionalism for our own employees.
3. Cultural influence
Culture can make or break any budding agency-client collaboration. Vision, values and mission statements are all important, but they don’t necessarily correlate with employee experience. Therefore understanding the culture of an agency is vital if you want to have a successful partnership with them.
Cultural influences to consider within an agency itself might include:
- Character attributes
- Social values
Whether they work for a business or agency, employees are first and foremost individuals, with their own personal cultures to consider. Only by encouraging an amalgamation of cultures can a single unified company culture emerge, and this is something that every business and agency should cherish. Embrace each other’s company culture with an open mind and your pairing is sure to be a great one. Both parties should be willing to learn and who knows, it could lead to a whole new working relationship!
No matter what you hope to achieve on your digital marketing journey, it’s essential to choose an agency whose values align with your own business. That way they will be best positioned to help you grow, providing continuous support along the way. For a team committed to ensuring your success, both online and offline, partner with Cognition Agency on your next marketing project.
Looking for more guidance on your digital marketing? Our team is here to help, so contact us today!