What Kind of Agency Partner Do You Want?
I have a theory that brands should be raised no differently than children. Well, very differently, but just go with me.
When you tackle the responsibility of raising a child you might begin with a list of what partners you’ll need to help with your responsibilities – the teacher, the pediatrician, the right nanny … it takes a village. You want the best for your children so they grow up healthy and strong, right? In this instance, raising your brand is no different. The better your choice of partners, the stronger your brand will be.
As you’re deciding which agency is the right partner for you, be sure you’re addressing relationship expectations during the process. It’s important to communicate what your role will be with the agency and what the agency’s role is with your brand. Here are a few analogies to get you started.
Brand Surrogate: A brand surrogate creates or revitalizes your brand (with your essential contribution, of course) and carries the brand to term. Then they deliver your brand and it’s yours to nurture. For the most part, the brand surrogate doesn’t raise the brand, but an invite to the graduation or a mother’s day card would be nice from time to time.
Brand Guardian: With direction from you on what type of citizen you’d like your brand to be, a brand guardian takes on the responsibility of carving a path for growth, directing the brand’s personality and acting as your counsel on the day-to-day life of the brand. This role often transforms into a brand chaperon, making sure the brand stays out of trouble and gets home safe!
Over the life of your brand you may feel a guardian or a chaperon is no longer needed. If that’s the case, be sure to actively manage your brand’s day-to-day activities or you’ll find yourself needing one of these …
Brand Custodian: Think Winston Wolfe. This is when your brand has gotten itself into a bit of trouble and you need someone to clean up the mess and hide the bodies. Have no fear. Anything is possible.
Regardless of the stage of your brand-raising adventure, the earlier you set expectations, the better your agency relationship is, the stronger your brand will be — and no one gets hurt.