How to Evaluate Branding Agencies: Values and Chemistry

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Finding the right agency partner is crucial to your brand’s success. In this series, we’ll discuss the strategies we’ve found effective for making the right client-agency match at every step. Today’s edition: values and chemistry.

There’s a reason that agencies and their clients call one another “partners.” A strong bond between client and agency means better work and more success for all involved. Before moving forward with an agency, you need to be sure of two things: alignment of fundamental values and chemistry between your teams.

Alignment of Values

Sharing the same core beliefs is crucial to building a successful relationship and producing good work with an agency. We’ve found that our best work has come from partnerships built on this kind of central alignment.

At BRIGADE, we value consistency over cohesion. We believe a brand’s identity and messaging needs to be defined and consistent across every touchpoint (rather than loosely linked through larger themes), in order to build the brand into something bigger than the sum of its parts. In service of that consistency, we value aesthetics. We believe that every aspect of the brand matters and must be carefully attended to.

We also believe that branding is key to your topline — not a hit to your bottom line. We work well with partners who see creating, refreshing, or growing their brand as an essential business investment. And we produce great work when we collaborate with clients who share these critical values.

Team Chemistry

Of course, sharing the same values doesn’t guarantee you’ll get along perfectly with an agency. Once you realize you’re aligned on what’s important for building the brand, you need to determine if you’ll collaborate successfully.

Client and agency team members spend many hours interacting. Whether you’re on the phone, in presentation meetings, or in the thick of a project, your teams need to work well together. When you interview agencies, ask yourself some essential questions: Do I feel comfortable around you? Would I put you on my internal team? Do I trust that you are equally invested in my brand, or are you just pursuing this project to build out your portfolio?

Brands aren’t built overnight; they’re built over the long haul. That initial interview between you and the agency is like a first date: it’s exciting and new, and it allows your team and the agency to begin to get to know one another. Can you see yourselves together for a long time? Will your partnership evolve and strengthen, or will it burn out and create friction down the road?

With some agencies, your brand team will share values, but disagree in other ways. Others will be friendly and dedicated, but their values won’t line up. If you find an agency with undeniable chemistry that also aligns on your values, then you’re an excellent client-agency match. Move forward and make great work together.