What do Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, and Hall & Oates all have in common? Aside from their popularity in music, these artists all have songs that describe everyday situations almost perfectly. In relation to brands, the three musicians (and a few others) have tracks that describe the process of finding a creative agency surprisingly well. In an earlier post we outlined the ways to pick the best creative digital agency. In this post, you get the soundtrack that accompanies the challenging process. Whether you listen to it in the office or on a plane, the following nine songs and videos are for you: that lucky individual who has the responsibility of finding a new agency. From sorting through RFP submissions to rejoicing over champagne with your new agency, you can use The Perfect Agency Search soundtrack all throughout the agency selection process. It compiles some of the best in music to help you find the best in the industry.
The Perfect Agency Search soundtrack
“Help!” by The Beatles
Dear God no: it’s time to find an agency to support your brand. Yes, that time in the brand’s maturation where an agency must be pulled in to deliver creative communications to meet your company’s goals. To say you have a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders is an understatement. An RFP must be distributed, an article about the search will probably go up on AdAge, and you’re going to have to maneuver through multiple phone screenings and then pitch presentations. It is here that the image of the tranquil beach and comfortable hammock on your desktop seems like a dream you wish could become a reality. Too bad, you’re at work and you must start the good old-fashioned pitch process. Let the games begin!
“Show Me What You Got” by Jay-Z
This is a state of emergency.
While having multiple agencies compete for your business may be grand, sitting through presentation after presentation may not seem as desirable. To be blunt, you just want to get the best agency and be done as quickly as possible. Too bad this isn’t Pleasantville and life isn’t that easy. The briefings in Skype calls, finalization emails, and the analysis of an agency’s capabilities are all just the tip of the iceberg. Then there’s the actual presentation. Whether you’re meeting with two or multiple agencies, you’re going to have to sift through the creative presentations to find what will be best for your brand and your brand’s target and aspirational consumers. Throughout it all, the only thing that can be said is for an agency to show you what they got and go from there. Just try to stay awake.
“Let’s Do It” by Billie Holiday
I know how the title sounds, but get your mind out of the gutter! We are professionals.
By ‘it’ I’m referring to sealing the deal and securing an agency with your company. Whether it will be your agency of record or an agency in addition to the one(s) you currently have, you are at the point in the pitch where you know which agency is for you. They showed their ideas and capabilities and they were spot on for your brand’s objectives. The only thing that could have made it any better was if the ghost of Billie Holiday appeared and sang “Let’s Do It” to confirm your decision. Since you may not see her appear, just go with your intuition and let the best agency know; I’m sure they’ll be happy to hear it. Now for the other agencies, they may be disappointed but at the end of the day they won a great experience which is just like winning your account. The only difference is this experience doesn’t come with the money or the ability to list it on their website. But aside from that the two are totally the same.
You chose the agency who you thought was best and they’ve already hit the streets running on their initiatives. Your boss is elated, your audience is paying attention to your efforts, and your competition is sweating at the thought of your next move. All the time you spent trying to find the best agency was well worth it, as your campaigns are working. To say you’re happy about this new business relationship won’t suffice. The best way to describe the feeling is to compare it to a beautiful first date. The kind where the other person has the same interests as you, doesn’t have a crazy obsession with cats, and the restaurant has comped the bill. Can you say jackpot? You and this agency are doing great and you can sit back and sing along with Mark from Blink 182, “let’s make this last forever.”
Just like with any relationship, at some point the honeymoon is over. In most brand-agency relationships it’s not a dramatic end, but a gradual one. It could be anything: the agency hasn’t communicated with you on various deliverables, they’ve missed the mark on a campaign, or a nasty combination of both. Not what you imagined when you shook hands over the creative. Unfortunately, it’s where you are. The reality is, these things happen in this industry, but if they are continuous you have to determine if you want to continue with the agency or find someone else. The agency could come around and the relationship continue as you expect (“You Make My Dreams Come True”) or they don’t and you realize you need to part ways (“We Are Never Getting Back Together”). Decisions, decisions.
You didn’t cut the agency. Instead, you gave them a stern message about their performance and things turned around 180 degrees. After the motivational talk the digital work is impeccable, the social media efforts get people talking and liking, and the videos are being shared like the Ebola virus. The marketing is working and you couldn’t be happier. Your agency understands how you want things done and you’ve communicated what should occur with the relationship. Everyone is on the same page and the book you all are reading is good. Thank God.
“We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
It wasn’t just one thing that brought you to the decision to cut the agency, it was everything. The campaign sucked, the event didn’t translate with the community, and the ad didn’t connect with its audience like it should have. Whatever the reason is, your brand has taken a big hit both financially and publicly and it has to stop here. Since the bad has far outweighed the good, it’s time to throw in the towel. When the best move for your brand is to part ways with the agency then the decision has to be that the two of you are never getting back together, like ever.
“The Show Must Go On” by Queen
You had a decent run with the previous agency, but things just didn’t work out. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and search for a new agency. This is the process you wished you didn’t have to start again, but you must. The difference between the past agency search and the present is, now you have to have a better rubric for selecting an agency. So you compose a revised RFP, deliver it to suitable communities, and prepare for agencies to vie for the creative once more. Just like Freddie Mercury says, you must “find the will to carry on with the show.” It’s a little less dramatic in your situation of course, but it’s still equally powerful…just like his beard.
“Welcome Back” by Mase
Surprise, surprise! Remember when you ended the relationship with your previous agency and searched for a new one? Guess who showed up for the pitch ready to wow you all over again. That’s right, your old agency. Here’s a funny little thing, they actually came up with the best creative and had the strongest strategy of all the agencies. They enhanced their thinking and developed work that screams, “We’ve improved significantly!” It may sound a bit crazy, but it may be worse for your brand if you don’t reignite the flame. Thus, you rekindle the relationship with the expectation that the past won’t repeat itself. With arms wide open, you sign on the agency that you worked with previously and begin a new chapter. Welcome back.