Step 3

How should I partner with my creative agency?

If you want a good return from your media investment, you’ll need your agency to produce highly creative, original work. Creative quality has a huge influence on advertising effectiveness, even more than other factors like media reach or targeting. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘the most variable of variables' when it comes to media return-on-investment.

Creative content is the key factor for effective advertising

Nearly 500 campaigns across all media platforms.

Source: Nielsen Catalina Solutions

Creativity is important because advertising that’s different, unexpected, and resonates emotionally is able to bypass people’s attention filter. This means it either gets noticed and acted upon immediately, or it sinks into memory to affect purchase decisions weeks, months and even years later.

The creative quality of your advertising depends heavily on how well you and your creative agency work together. You need to guide them using your knowledge of your brand, the market and the consumer — but also give them the freedom they need to come up with a truly creative idea. Listening and collaboration skills are vital

Here are three tips on partnering with your creative agency

💡 Ensure everyone is aligned on the task

If the first two of your seven steps have gone well, you can be confident that you have a strong creative brief. This means your agency should know exactly how you want people to see your brand and the role that advertising needs to play.

Before embarking on advertising development, you need to make sure your creative agency is fully on board with your thinking. It’s worth asking them to give you their take on the situation. If they’re fully aligned with your thinking, that's great. If they challenge you with a new thought that makes you stop and think, that’s even better!

💡Focus on the ‘big idea’

Given how fragmented the modern media environment is, brands need big ideas that work across multiple channels and formats. A strong one-off TV ad is great, but it’s of little use if it represents a creative cul-de-sac. ‘Big ideas’ lead to advertising that works across print, outdoor, digital display, social media and TV — and inspires strong executions for years to come.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask your agency to articulate the underlying idea behind the advertising – the big idea that connects ads across all media – and share examples of how the big idea could be brought to life in a variety of different channels. The greater the variety of storylines the agency comes up with that work as executions across different media channels, the better.

💡 Be clear on the brand’s role

Creativity provides an opportunity for your advertising to drive sales, but only if it’s harnessed for the brand’s benefit. Members of our Insights Alliance say they have come across lots of highly creative advertising that captivates the audience but fails to involve the brand.

When developing advertising with your agency, an important question to ask at every step of the process is:

Several members of our Insights Alliance have mentioned a simple technique they use to judge whether an advertising idea is likely to be well branded. They ask themselves: If I showed this idea to a friend (who doesn’t work in advertising/marketing) and asked them to explain their understanding of the idea, could they easily do so without mentioning the brand? If so, the brand probably doesn’t have a clear enough role in the idea and careful thought will need to be given to whether it could play a bigger role.

Brands can play a number of different roles in the advertising idea, such as the hero, the helpful catalyst or the proud sponsor of something the audience cares about. What’s important is that the advertising excels in at least one of these branding mechanisms.

Learn how Zappi can help you with ad development