The Right Way to Pick an Ad Agency

Selecting your marketing mouthpiece is a notoriously fraught task. There's no science, so you should embrace the art

Written by Bruce Philp

Some facts really are too good to check. The dusty bit of apocrypha I’m thinking of right now goes like this: U2, by this time one of the biggest bands in rock, are in a studio recording an

Bono stops in the middle of a take and frets aloud that the track sounds too much like U2. The Edge, bored with the strutting frontman’s hand-wringing, snorts, “We are f-cking U2.”

It’s a great parable about the inevitability of branding, but it contains a more literal truth every marketer eventually faces: The better creative people get, the less able they are to serve any brand but their own.

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Sooner or later, every success

Sure, advertising people are a fun tribe, and the best ones are indelibly inspiring to be around. But if you’re a marketer, choosing one is still the most terrifying act of faith your business will ever commit. You are, after all, about to empower total strangers to spend a lot of your money saying something about you to the world. Something not easily unsaid, and something for which you—not they—will be held responsible. Launching

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The natural reaction to so much

But even the most diligent and respectful more than anybody wants to

The reason for this is something the industry has never agement consultants burnishing a proven process with interscripts, though some holding

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Ad agencies, especially the best ones, are freak

That means who you see is what search I ever observed is stillcommittee via video from his and a pad of paper, there was never really any doubt about

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The fact is, if all that mattered was the quality of an agency’s work, you could get one on Amazon. The capacity to generate ideas, aside from being more prevalent than you’d think, is easy to verify. But that’s not really what you’re buying.

When you’re looking across a boardroom table at whatever collection of rumpled dreamers and smug hipsters made it this far, fall in love with who they are together, not you think you as a business leader can make them do. If they’re any good, you won’t be able to control them. And if you can control them, they probably aren’t much good. They’re going to be a constant in your marketing, not a variable, so you’d better like the music.

Bruce Philp is a brand strategy consultant and author of Consumer Republic, winner of the 2012 National Business Book Award. This article is from the January 2016 issue of Canadian BusinessSubscribe now!


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