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Success Advice Public Relations

10 key points on how to be a successful agency

By Rod Petrie |

April 30, 2012 | 6 min read

Rod Petrie, the Design Business Association (DBA) credited business expert offers a few tips on how to create your own successful agency.

Today our industry needs great agencies and great creative brains that share the same goals if they are to rise to the challenge of an increasingly diverse and complex yet exciting brand and media landscape.

The foundation of my work is guiding people and businesses towards solutions that truly transform how they think, feel and behave.

There are many guiding principles involved on how to be more successful and equally as important, how to sustain that success.

The following example is just one of my contextual reference points that I use with my clients and is aimed at fostering a strategic inquiry into the thought processes and actions needed to achieve results.

If you don’t know the secret of your success, then who does.

1. Your Offer

What do you offer the world? Make sure that your agency has a clearly defined offer with differentiated products. Be clear about what you stand for so that you can stand out from the crowd and be the agency of choice for clients.

When was the last time you looked at your agencies vision statement?

2. Business Focus

Know your market, style and value. You are in business because of your outstanding creativity and the commercial success of your work. It is all about profitable ideas that create profit. Having said that I have never met a client who didn’t appreciate a piece of silverware to add to his trophy cabinet.

Do you know what your agencies business KPI’s are?

3. Create value for clients

Cut through the issues and focus on priorities that deliver value over the short, medium and long term for your clients. Develop business relationships with client companies up and above individual personal relationships.

So what is stopping this from happening?

4. Be Confident

It’s all about being confident, super confident not arrogant. Confidence comes first then performance. You have to be confident before the meeting not during or in the middle or at the end. If you want to improve your confidence you need to practice confidence. What does confidence look like and feel like?

Throw in a healthy dose of luck or as I like to put it, “preparation and opportunity coming together” and things start to happen.

Does your agency have a ‘can do’ attitude?

5. Be professional

You need to have professionalism and integrity with you at all times. Trust might not be the reason why your client appointed you but you can bet your last dollar it will be the reason why they take the business somewhere else.

When was the last time you looked at the agencies Values?

6. Disciplined business structures

People and projects can be unmanageable; they need business structures and systems to achieve the desired end result. With greater rigour and structure the space to think can be created helping to do away with that last-minute solution culture.

Do you know the agencies best practice policies?

7. Brainpower

It is all about managing creative and logic in equal proportion. Everyone involved should be adding value and need to be fully integrated from briefing through to the end result if a high quality, consistent product is to be achieved.

What obstacles of the agencies own making are getting in the way?

8. People First

At the very heart of any agency is it its people practices and the commitment to invest in skills and training of its most valuable asset – its people. Investing in people sends out a global message of the consistent desire to improve quality, productivity and profitability.

How could your agency further improve their personal development programme?

9. Education

Clients may have an intuitive understanding of what you do but they don’t always understand the complexity involved. Don’t be afraid to take them through your process so they can understand what it takes to produce great and profitable ideas. Understanding how people like to receive information will also help you to communicate more effectively.

Do you know your clients learning strategies?

10. Leadership

Leaders make the right decisions and understand that ‘context’ makes sense of everything.

One key leadership attribute is the ability to spot and develop talent at all levels. There are three choices: employ winners from outside, which can be costly with no guarantee; find potential winners from within and make them into winners – this can take time and investment, or do nothing and watch your agency drop a division and go bust.

When was your last leadership moment?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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