Any business worth its salt knows how important advertising and marketing are, especially in this digital day and age. Creative advertisements are not only memorable, but are essential to building brands, raising awareness, and making a brand stand out from the competition. However, with consumers being bombarded with advertisements daily, it can be challenging for a company to get its voice heard. Moreover, some companies may be too small or lack the required manpower to push their marketing efforts. As such, most businesses now outsource their advertising campaigns to advertising agencies, who are specialists in this field.
What are advertising agencies?
To put it simply, an advertising agency, also known as a creative agency, is a business that focuses on providing advertising, marketing, and other types of promotion to raise awareness for brands. Most agencies are independent and can collaborate with multiple clients simultaneously. Advertising agencies are mainly responsible for planning and developing a client’s advertising campaigns, and will be working closely with clients on creating and brainstorming strategies.
It is best if both clients and the agency are on the same page regarding the company’s business goals. This is so advertisements can align nicely with brand messaging and the client’s target audience.
How advertising agencies work
Most advertising agencies start by developing a marketing strategy for a business’s product or service. After the strategy has been approved and finalised, they can get on creating advertisements to entice their client’s target audience. When the ads have been completed, advertising agencies will then assist with managing the implementation of these strategies. Overall, good advertising agencies make a brand identity clearer while differentiating it from other similar businesses.
Commonly Provided Services
Advertising agencies come in different shapes and sizes and can provide either boutique or generalised services. However, overall, some services remain the same across the board. Here are a few of them listed below:
Unlike one-off advertisements, an ad campaign is a group of related ads communicating a single unifying brand message, idea, or theme. The campaigns often result from in-depth market research and creative brainstorming from advertising agencies. For most agencies, running these campaigns is quite common, with many offering this particular service.
What makes an ad campaign more beneficial than just a single advertisement is how it can essentially push the same message in various ways. The message can also be adapted for different mediums, such as print, tv, or online, meaning that advertisers can reach a larger demographic of people. As a result of running on different mediums, these ad campaigns can stretch for longer without seeming too repetitive or stale to audiences.
A famous campaign would be Australia’s Metro Trains’ “Dumb Ways to Die” video. The video was an instant viral hit on YouTube, with the song being made available on iTunes and radio. Despite its serious message (to not play around train tracks), the tune’s catchiness made the campaign memorable to anyone who watched it.
Social Media Management
With the rise in social media engagement, most companies are now promoting their brand through multiple social media platforms. As the world becomes more interconnected, achieving worldwide recognition is a goal many brands set their sights on. Social media can help reach users globally with little to no cost.
As each social media platform targets a slightly different demographic and is made with a distinct user experience, posts must be adapted slightly. Instagram focuses more on showcasing images and short videos, whereas Twitter concentrates on news, updates, and conversations between users. If companies do not have enough manpower to keep track of all these platforms, an advertising agency can assist with managing them.
Agencies can also use social media as part of a larger digital marketing strategy, namely through getting ads displayed or even reaching out to relevant influencers for brand promotion.
Many advertisements need some visual element to get their message across, which is why agencies are likely to offer graphic design services. Rather than just making images look pretty, graphic design must communicate and convey a message to the right audience.
These services can include creating logos or brand identity, promotional displays, packaging, and brochures. If something has an image, it is under the designer’s jurisdiction. Design can also encompass websites, apps, and social media in this digital age.
Before agencies can get started, they must first work with clients to develop a campaign direction. This is essential for strategic planning. Setting out long-term goals and how the agency will achieve them ensures everyone knows what objectives to hit and everything stays on track. Aside from clearly defining the target audience, advertising agencies are also concerned with where the best-suited channel is to advertise, figuring out the budget of a campaign, and how to gauge a campaign’s overall performance.
Benefits of an advertising agency
Advertising agencies bring a lot to the table, which is no surprise why many companies end up using them. Whether brands work with a large or a boutique agency, they can still be sure to enjoy the benefits of outsourcing their marketing. An ad agency can help with the following things:
Saving time and money
As others have put it, ‘time is money.’ This is no doubt truer than in advertising. Market research, strategizing, and planning campaigns, in addition to launching them, are incredibly time-consuming and intensive activities. Not to mention designing and creating the advertisements themselves. Some companies, such as startups, might not have enough experience, manpower, or resources to devote all their time and energy to this endeavour. Even larger companies might baulk at doing everything in-house, as they might not have the necessary relationships with media outlets. On the other hand, ad agencies have the expertise and relationships needed for an advertising campaign to succeed. Because agencies know exactly what they are doing, no money and time is wasted.
Assist with Brand Development
Sometimes, a business does not know how to communicate the message it wants to tell. As people will tell you, creating a product or service and promoting said product or service are two completely different skills. Branding is essential for businesses to set themselves apart and build customer trust. Agencies are experts in this field, as they can create a unifying brand identity that helps to increase brand awareness. People are storytellers at heart, and a memorable, distinct story makes a business all the easier to remember.
Expertise and external perspective
Of course, an owner knows their business best. But this can sometimes lead them to make biased decisions. On the opposite side, advertising agencies are independent and can therefore look at the company more objectively. Agencies also take on many clients simultaneously, meaning they know what tactics work and what do not, which can be vital when choosing the optimal strategy for a brand. Agencies also have a wide range of talent in-house, meaning they can draw on knowledge from many different fields and perspectives.
Networking and public relations
If an agency does not have the necessary in-house talent for a campaign, they know people who do. Agencies can easily reach out to artists, filmmakers, influencers, and media outlets to further assist in a project. This can be difficult for businesses to do since these relationships need to be cultivated over many years before they bear fruit.