Dear Brands and Startups,
If your company is at the point in its growth cycle where it needs an agency to handle its creative outreach, then it’s important to know the best approach. Sure, you can refer to “how-to” posts on various websites, but how about you look to an unexpected video. This video comes from 17-year-old Jake Davidson and is titled: “Kate Upton, Will You Go To Prom With Me?” (below). In Jake’s video, Jake shows you how to effectively present your case in order to get what you want. Brands and startups take note. The Los Angeles native asked Kate Upton to prom and she is checking her schedule! If his methodology can land a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, then maybe it can get you the agency you want. Take off your Jansport backpack and open your college-ruled notebook, you’re about to get schooled by a high school senior.
Address Potential Agencies Appropriately
“Kate, can I call you Katie? Okay, Kate works.”
If you think it’s endearing to address someone you don’t know by his nickname, think again. It didn’t work so well for Jake and it won’t work for you either. Take my name as an example; you can call me Danielle, but not by my nickname, Danny. You don’t get to call me Danny until we’ve shared secrets over a pint of Sam Adams or you know about my love for all things Robin Thicke. Likewise, don’t say my last name incorrectly. It’s Salmon, like the fish. Not ‘solomon’, ‘say-men’, or ‘semen’. People take pride in their names and are protective about them, so don’t mess them up. If you do, a person will go into defense mode like Bobby on King of the Hill and start shouting, “I don’t know you!” The best way to avoid this type of situation, is to do your research in advance. A name and it’s pronunciation are critical, and likes or dislikes are important. It’ll only make you look prepared and serious. Agencies love seriousness
Flattery Gets You Everywhere…Almost
“That cat-daddy video should have won an Oscar for Best Short Film.”
Maybe not to that extreme, but you get the idea. Aside from expressing why you want to work with the agency, explain why you think the two of you would be a good fit. Most importantly, be sincere about it. Obviously the agency has something that you like, otherwise you would have clicked the little ‘X’ on the top of your browser. Say whatever it was that kept you on the site and compelled you to reach out to them. You could simply state the reason or you could take it to the next level. Take your goal and lace it with a compliment about the agency. “I want to work with you guys because I’ve seen how you can drastically increase a video game’s audience in social media.” Really? Oh, please stop. You’re making me blush! Okay, keep going…
Pitch Your Attributes Like You’re Babe Ruth
“I’m Optimus Prime, I see the glass half full!”
This is the part of the conversation where you have to sell yourself. Agencies have many clients and are constantly responding to proposals, so it’s your responsibility to get them to focus on you and convince them to want to work with your company. Sure, there are still instances where an agency must work for your attention, but as a startup you have to be prepared for the tables to be turned. So tell the agency all the things that you and your audience love about your brand. If your unique selling proposition is that your product is faster, trendier, or more interactive, then say it. Don’t be humble or coy, let it all hang out, little Bambino.
Express Your Weakness
“…I’m 5’9 on a really good day.”
Startups and companies tend to avoid this, based on the belief that one shouldn’t willingly present his faults. That’s true in some cases, but when you want to get an agency to work for you, it’s important to address your faults in advance. Is your audience non-existent or do you have a small budget? Whatever the reason is, you should let the potential agency know before they consider working with you. One of the things an agency hates most, is to meet with a potential client that sounds amazing, only to later discover the company’s drawbacks on their own. It may not be something you want to do, but it will save you and the agency a lot of time. So be honest from the get-go; they’ll respect you more if do. If you are not interested in divulging this news early on then don’t say anything. But you should know, people in creative agencies can uncover information like insecure girlfriends. You don’t want it to come to that.
Close the Deal
“Kate, will you go to prom with me?”
After everything is said and done, you have to ask the question. “We’re looking for an agency that can take our brand to the forefront. Is that you?” A simple yes or no answer will either give you the agency you want or a reason to call another one. You did your part and you did it right. You addressed them properly, expressed your interest in the agency, promoted yourself, and even made your weaknesses known early on. An honest answer from the agency will lead you in the right direction you need. But if they give you a “we’ll think about it”, take it in the context of dating; they’re just not that into you.
Kate Upton, Will You Go To Prom With Me?