When thinking about advertising agencies, 

we’re sure images of beanbag chairs, the stereotypical foosball table, a sprinkling of hanging ferns and bold print ads plastered everywhere come to mind. While some of these things might be present in most agencies, they aren’t what make an agency great

Similar to the four Cs when diamond shopping, there are four common characteristics all great advertising agencies possess.

They are Communicators

It’s an agency’s business to have a solid handle on communication strategies. An agency with an established internal communication style, and one more tailored to clients, saves time and money for everyone (not to mention a lot of sleepless nights). Maintaining clear communication minimizes avoidable mishaps and even helps to anticipate issues, creating and fostering a flexible environment.

They are Current

The advertising industry is constantly evolving, and in order to make clients look good, agencies must value and encourage continued learning. Outside of reading AdWeek and watching Super Bowl commercials in our free time, agencies need to be involved with industry associations to stay up-to-date on trends and technology. In addition to knowing our industry, agencies need to also know the clients’ businesses. You should find comfort in knowing there is not only a focus on us being experts in our field, but in yours as well.

They are Cost-Conscious

A good agency not only understands that everything has a price, but also respects a client’s spending threshold. An inability to project costs accurately and prepare a budget can be the swift end to an agency. It is in our best interest to be diligent and upfront with any foreseen diversions from said budget. This business acumen can directly impact the successful outcome of your campaign.

They are Clever

Cleverness is the bread and butter of any agency. Our job is to promote your business through our creativity and strategic expertise. A main goal of a creative team is to concept a campaign that engages its audience and stops people in their tracks, makes them think or elicits a strong emotion. Keep in mind, not only does this key characteristic apply to advertisements and collateral, but also to our ability to problem solve. We need to be creative across the board; from crafting smart marketing pieces to the way we handle hiccups along the way.

Like a diamond, these four Cs can be tricky characteristics to analyze without seeing it firsthand. In the beginning, pay attention to how the agency communicates and ask yourself if it aligns with your communication style. Peruse the agency’s website and do a little homework of your own – This gives you a feel not only for their culture, but insight into their creative brain.

For the first in-person interaction, it is important to be prepared to ask questions to gauge the agency’s industry prowess and ability to problem solve. This can be as simple as asking how the agency stays on top of current industry trends and how they promote an educational environment. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask financial questions – this indicates to the agency you are not only mindful of cost and outcome, but are willing to broach the topic.