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Agency, Brand Thyself
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Agency, Brand Thyself

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Advertising agencies and other marketing firms must do for themselves what they do for their clients -- develop a distinctive positioning strategy that will differentiate them in the marketplace. ...

Advertising agencies and other marketing firms must do for themselves what they do for their clients -- develop a distinctive positioning strategy that will differentiate them in the marketplace. Here's a brief overview based on the work of Ignition's Tim Williams as outlined in his book "Take a Stand for Your Brand: Building a Great Agency Brand from the Inside Out."

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  • The things agencies say about themselves are remarkably similar, starting with “full service” and “integrated.”
  • There are real benefits that result from taking a strategic position, not the least of which is a much stronger win ratio in new business.
  • Advertising Age’s Jonah Bloom says “Commoditization may be the biggest threat facing agencies today.”
  • Remember, standing for everything is just another way of standing for nothing.
  • In developing a positioning, the foundational question is “What are we really selling?”
  • Most recent research among marketers shows that the most important agency search criteria is “knowledge of our industry.” Agencies can only deliver on that if they’re willing to be experts in something instead of trying to be experts in everything.
  • If you’re absolutely right for one client, you will by definition be absolutely wrong for another.
  • The real question is would you rather be mildly appealing to a broad group of prospects, or intensely appealing to a select group of prospects?
  • Your firm is defined by the clients and services you don’t have.
  • Marketers know agencies can’t be good at everything, which is why they increasingly look for best-in-class specialists.
  • The “narrow” agencies in America bring in some very large revenues.
  • A differentiating positioning strategy for your firm can be found at the intersection of:What (What we do)Who (Who we do it for)How (How we do it)

Agency, Brand Thyself Agency, Brand Thyself Presentation Transcript

  • Agency,
    Brand Thyself
    Tim Williams, Ignition Consulting Group
    www.ignitiongroup.com
  • Can you describe your positioning in 30 seconds?
  • Where most agencies are
    COMMODITY
    RECOGNIZED TRADE NAME
    BRAND
    View slide
  • TOP 12 GENERIC AGENCY CLAIMS
    We’re full service!
    We’re integrated!
    We have a wide range of experience!
    We’re creative!
    We’re strategic thinkers!
    We’re nimble and responsive!
    We’re media neutral!
    We’re team-oriented!
    We’re your marketing partner!
    We assign only senior people!
    We get results!
    We’re fun!
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    Unlike other agencies …
    View slide
  • “The common failing among agencies seeking new business is their inability or unwillingness to name what they stand for.”
    Bob Lundin
    Agency search consultancy Jones LundinBeals
  • Benefits of naming what you stand for
    A well-defined set of criteria for identifying the clients who want you for what you do best.
    A stronger win ratio when soliciting new business, because you are playing to your strengths.
    Clearer direction for how your firm should spend its limited time, money and resources.
  • Are we part of the sea of sameness?
  • Steps to Fighting Agency Commodization
    Stop selling ads as the answer to everything.
    Look for new revenue streams.
    Say no.
    Change the cost dialogue into a results dialogue.
    Accept risk.
    Specialize.
    “Commoditization may be the biggest threat facing agencies today.”
    Jonah Bloom
    Executive Editor
    Advertising Age
  • Standing for everything
    is just another way of standing for nothing
  • The foundational question:
    What are we really selling?
    • Has higher fees
    • Has broader market area
    • Has fewer competitors
    Power is with
    the specialist.
  • Most important agency search criteria
    at developing relationship stage
    Most important agency search criteria
    at credentials stage
    1. Actual knowledge of the industry, understanding our business.
    1. Actual knowledge about our industry.
    Source: Millward Brown Study on Agency New Business, 2007
  • The essence of positioning is
  • Why most agencies don’t have a strong positioning: Unwillingness to sacrifice
  • The goal of positioning
    isn’t to appeal to more clients.
    It’s to appeal more intensely
    to fewer clients.
  • Would you rather be mildly appealing to a broad group of prospects …
    … or intensely appealing to a select group of prospects?
  • Your firm is defined by the clients and services you don’t have
  • Top reason clients search for a new agency
    Desire to focus on best-in-class specialists
    Lagging business results
    Creative failed to perform as expected
    Agency’s failure to update capabilities
    Creative differences
    Lack of team chemistry
    Poor service
    Agency’s poor project management
    Agency’s lack of cost efficiency
    Agency’s lack of desire to facilitate integration
    Source: Millward Brown Study on Agency New Business, 2007
  • “If you stand for something, you will always find some people for you and some against you.
    “If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you, and nobody for you.”
    Bill Bernbach
  • The world’s strongest brands have both the
    strongest admirers and the strongest detractors.
  • Narrow is not
    the same as small.
    (Starbucks is narrow, but it certainly isn’t small.)
  • Narrow is not small
  • Who we are not
    (That’s difficult)
    Who we are
    (That’s easy)
  • Serves only well-traveled destinations
    Serves one kind of traveler (leisure)
    Offers only one class of service
    Operates only one kind of aircraft
    Serves every kind of destination
    Serves every kind of traveler
    Offers every class of service
    Operates every kind of aircraft
    Unprofitable for most of the past decade and recently emerged from bankruptcy.
    Profitable every year since they started in business
    20 years ago.
  • What we do
    What
    Who we do it for
    Who
    How we do it
    How
    Defining your positioning by exploring three questions
  • What
  • What
  • Who
    We know the “ruralpolitan” market.
  • Who
    Consumption-based marketing
  • How
  • How
  • What
    Your positioning can be found at the intersection of:
    Who
    How
  • 30-second elevator ride
    5-minute phone discussion
    60-minute presentation
    You should be able to describe your positioning in a:
  • If you are positioned correctly, you can win the battle
    before you fight.
    Lord Wellington
  • Ignition’s complete approach to agency positioning is outlined in the book “Positioning for Professionals” by Tim Williams.
    Available at www.amazon.com
    Ignition offers both guided and self-guided versions of it’s proprietary agency positioning program.
    www.ignitiongroup.com