Six top tips for tackling agency challenges

January 27, 2023

January 2023 – Marketing agency owners face numerous challenges as they do business and while they grow their brands. AMIN Worldwide’s EMEA agency leaders weigh in on a few difficulties they experience and how they address them.

How do you push clients to be braver with their creative campaigns?
“In order to maximize return on campaign investment, a brand should aim for a lasting impact on a more and more distracted target. Being smart, brave, and bold is no longer an option – it’s a must. I would show my clients examples of creative work, often from other industries, to let them focus on their business and communication goals and open up their minds. “Clients often have preconceived ideas about their creative material, which eventually restricts the quality of their agency’s work. It also helps to identify and engage the ultimate decision maker on these campaigns. Decisions by large bodies can potentially destroy creativity, resulting in plain or dull campaigns.” – Arnaud Debane, AMIN France/Elson

How do we sell design in a world where data is king?
“Data might be king of our time, but design is queen. While you have to invest in design to obtain trust, companies that invest in design also add more value to their brand. Design is one of the few investments where you can tick off time, money and quality.

“From early childhood we’re told that you can’t have it all – that’s absolutely untrue when it comes to design. When you put design into systems you can save a lot of time and fast track campaign development. If you have a design system, you don’t have to create and invent every time, and that saves a lot of money. And most important, good design upgrades your brand and products. Design gives you a 3-in-1 solution.” – Søren Grinsted, AMIN Denmark/Public Agency

How do you create content if a client has nothing to talk about?
“I simply can’t think of a company or a brand that ‘has nothing to talk about’. Starting with the basics: presenting products, hiring staff, promoting new developments, building relationships with stakeholders – all require specific communication and content. Companies are also expected to take a stance on social or environmental issues.

 “There are actually so many directions to create content. Any brand would greatly benefit from strategising its communication along business goals, values, stories and content creation to maximize its return on communication expenditures.” – Arnaud Debane, AMIN France/Elson

How do you pitch your agency to new clients?
“Whenever there is a big pitch, you’re eager to bring in all the specialists because you want to convince the client that you have in-depth expertise about the different topics. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always tell a good story because the risk is that you go into excessive detail. Try to look at it from a client’s perspective and have a good pitch without explaining too much.

“Give one person (not a specialist) ownership of the story you want to tell and the solution you are offering. If they have questions, they will ask. And if you’re not sure about what is most important to the prospect, ask before working on the pitch – don’t just guess or assume.
“From a practical level, we always try to find out who will be in the pitch presentation. Looking at the LinkedIn profiles of the people attending from the prospect side, gives valuable input about their interests. We then try to integrate these domains in our presentation.” – Hans van Eemeren, AMIN Belgium/iO

When is the right time to rebrand a business?
“Rebranding is an ambitious and risky effort that is going to lock in the emotional relationship between a brand and its clients for several years. I would seriously challenge the argument that ‘our brand has been on the market for too many years’, as I believe existing brands can be refreshed and reborn.
“I would only recommend a rebranding effort that is strongly backed up by tangible changes on the market – for example a new offering, a new product line, a new disruptive owner, new investments or new ways of conducting business. I also see a case for a brand whose reputation has been tainted and wants a fresh start.” – Arnaud Debane, AMIN France/Elson

How do you drive purpose in an independently owned agency?
“To find purpose there needs to be a clear link between what people really value and what they spend their time doing. However, in a full-service agency this link isn’t always apparent, especially with individuals who fill many roles and have different types of expertise, while working on multiple clients and campaigns. As agency leaders, we communicate the values the agency is trying to convey while shaping the story of how work and values are connected.

“Beliefs, attitudes and behaviors only get entrenched in a business when they’re focused on and driven from the top down. Leaders must focus on visibly driving culture, living the brand and continuously making the connection back to purpose. We then make our purpose real by formally and informally sharing stories, speaking passionately about what the agency stands for and communicating personal lessons learned in that process.” – Sylvia Zanetti, AMIN South Africa/Stratitude


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About AMIN Worldwide

The Advertising & Marketing Independent Network (AMIN) Worldwide is an alliance of 50+

independent marketing firms across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Asia. Since 1932, AMIN has been providing award-winning solutions at greater value. The network increases the reach of members and clients through industry expertise, global market insight and knowledge of emerging trends. AMIN member agencies are independently owned, but collaborate to meet challenges, from connecting with new clients and growing into global markets, to building stronger brands and giving access to local insights. For AMIN Worldwide partners and locations:


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