Studio Ostendo operates in multiple creative fields including photography, design, and education.
Establishing a strong brand presence is a time-consuming process that requires considerable effort. Building lasting connections with your audience largely depends on effective marketing. However, if you don't have a proficient in-house team to create and execute your marketing plan, you might need assistance from an external partner. But, selecting the appropriate agency that can help you with this task can be a daunting task. With so many different types of agencies out there, it can be confusing to determine whether you should hire a digital agency, ad agency, or creative agency.
In this article, we'll provide you with all the essential information you need to know about creative agencies. We will discuss what they are, how they differ from other agencies, and guide you in finding the ideal agency for your brand.
A creative agency refers to a company that provides a range of design, marketing, and advertising services. Their services cover various creative aspects of your brand, including strategy, execution, and promotion.
Although some creative agencies may specialize in specific areas, they generally offer the following services:
Basically, a creative agency is a group of skilled professionals who can help you with your brand's overall strategy. This typically involves a combination of the following services:
Additionally, some creative agencies may collaborate with specialized partners like video production houses, depending on their organizational structure. While we don’t have all of these team members on staff at Studio Ostendo, we do have an extensive network of creatives and leaders in all fields, which allows us to beautifully execute the work that best suits our clients.
A creative agency offers a wide range of services that can help your brand in various ways. They can fill gaps in your marketing team or take the lead entirely. Here are some ways a creative agency can help your brand:
When you're too close to your brand, it's easy to miss the bigger picture. A creative agency can provide a fresh perspective and ideas to improve your strategy and achieve your goals. Plus, it’s their job and profession to look at things in new and creative ways. Hence the term, “creative”!
A creative agency is a team of talented specialists who can craft and execute your marketing strategies. From developers to designers, copywriters to data visualization experts, they have the knowledge and skills to produce content that works best for each platform. Be sure to work with an agency that has a proven track record by checking their case studies.
A creative agency has unique insights into what works, what doesn't, and what can improve your results. They work with a range of clients across industries, so they can share other brands' successes and mistakes without using your brand as a guinea pig.
A creative agency has an established network of expert creators who can provide tough-to-locate specialty services. Whether you need a production house to film your latest video or a developer to code an interactive website, they have the skills or the expert referral to get it done.
A creative agency is a sophisticated machine accustomed to producing a variety of content quickly and efficiently. They're also aware of common roadblocks and pitfalls that can sabotage production, so they can better navigate through them.
Quality, consistency, and cadence are crucial to a successful content marketing operation. A creative agency can produce quality content at a high volume with expertise and a solid infrastructure. They will also work hard to find the best creative for your brand, even if it means disagreeing with you or fighting for an idea they believe in.
Bonus: Blame Outsourcing (Agency Scapegoat). If things go wrong, you can always outsource blame to a creative agency. Of course, a good agency will work to avoid failure at all costs. But if things go awry, sure, go ahead and blame your agency if it saves you your job. (Just take them with you when you’re moving on to your next gig.)
Full-service creative agencies can provide even more benefits to your brand. They specialize in your particular industry or offering, providing expert insights and the right recommendations for your unique needs.
Not every brand requires the services of a creative agency, especially if they have a capable in-house team that can execute their marketing strategy effectively. However, if you lack the following, it may be worth considering hiring a creative agency:
Limited means, accessibility, or availability can make executing your strategy difficult. A creative agency can provide you with the infrastructure you need to support your strategy.
A creative agency is staffed by expert creators who possess the skills and expertise to create various types of content, and most importantly, adhere to best practices.
If your team is occupied with other projects, your marketing projects may be delayed or pushed to the back burner. A creative agency can help you produce quality content consistently and at scale.
If your current marketing strategy isn't delivering the desired results, a creative agency can advise on how to tweak, improve, or revise it.
If you're uncertain about whether a creative agency can assist you, consider the following criteria to decide if you need one at all and whether to hire an agency or a freelancer.
Based on our experience working with numerous brands over the past decade, we understand the obstacles and challenges that can arise when searching for the right agency. To help you find the best partner, we've put together some tips to ensure a seamless journey.
It's not necessary for you to have a specific creative idea in mind when hiring a creative agency (after all, that's often the reason for seeking one), but it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your goals. The better you define your objectives, the easier it will be for your agency to develop the creative solution you need. Of course, it's also perfectly fine to enlist an agency's help in guiding your strategy if you're uncertain of your needs. However, it's important to avoid approaching an agency with no idea of what you're looking for.
Finding the right creative agency for your needs can seem overwhelming, with so many options available. However, there are agencies that specialize in specific industries, like B2B tech, and can provide tailored solutions based on their intimate knowledge of the landscape. To start your search, consider asking colleagues and friends for recommendations, or simply do a Google search. Keep in mind that although a local agency might be more convenient, a better fit for your needs could be found outside your immediate area. With the help of technology, collaborating with agencies remotely is easier than ever before, so don't let distance be a limiting factor in your decision.
A reputable agency should have a strong portfolio that includes case studies highlighting their results for clients, not just the way the work looks. When reviewing their work and client list, you can gain an understanding of their creative style and approach. It's best if they have experience working in your industry or have completed campaigns similar to what you're looking for. But if you don't see what you're looking for, and you like their work, you can always reach out to ask for more examples.
Design, especially brand design as we specialize in, is a service that transcends industries. Much of the process involves extracting your Brand Core, developing a brand strategy, and leveraging that in the best possible way for your specific scenario.
A reputable agency is committed to advancing its industry, and it should exhibit its proficiency in various ways, such as through blog posts, articles, books, guest contributions, or appearances in industry publications. Their readiness to share their knowledge and actively engage in their field is an excellent sign that they are competent and self-assured in their work.
When looking for a creative agency, it's important to consider how they present themselves through their own content. Take some time to review their website and social media profiles to get a sense of their personality, team, and values. It's important to work with people you feel comfortable with, but also with those who practice what they preach. This will give you an idea of how they might approach your project and whether they align with your brand values and vision.
Collaboration is key to success, regardless of the quality of work in a portfolio. Therefore, it is crucial to research and communicate with potential agencies to ensure that you work well together. Although you may admire an agency's illustration style, their creative approach may not align with your vision. Alternatively, you may be impressed by both their work and values. The only way to know is by talking to them, so conducting research ahead of time is important.
We recommend interviewing a minimum of three agencies and preparing your questions in advance. This is not a formal interview but can be a relaxed and exploratory conversation, guided by a framework to help you obtain the necessary information. Here are some great questions to ask:
Note: It's important to ensure that they're interviewing you too. A positive relationship requires mutual interest, so your agency should also be asking you questions and showing engagement. (Agencies that prioritize finding partners who are the right fit are usually a better match.)
Trust your instincts throughout the process. You want to collaborate with an agency that is approachable, proactive, and interested in establishing a long-term partnership with you. If you don't get those positive vibes from the beginning, keep looking until you find an agency that does make you feel that way.
Building a good relationship with your agency is crucial, and it's important to remember that it's a partnership where both parties must show up and do their part. Here are a few steps you can take to start off on the right foot: