If you want your agency to succeed you have to have a compelling reason for being! Every agency inherently knows that it needs to differentiate itself from the competitors. Hell, they preach it to their clients every day. Why is it then that most agencies all look and sound alike?
There is no differentiation in claiming to be a digital agency or social media agency, filled with experts in the field. There are hundreds if not thousands of agencies out there with the same capabilities. Differentiation does come from a “proprietary agency process” that we like to tout as being unique. Clients find such claims laughable. And while great work is always of interest to clients, in and of itself it is not a differentiator. Now finally to my pet peeve. Claiming to be a fully integrated, seamless, 360 degree or full service agency DEFINITELY is not differentiating. In fact it’s not even believable, but that’s a subject for another post.
True differentiation comes from within the agency. It starts with agency leadership and the tone that they set. It’s built on internal beliefs, ideals, values and the combined capabilities of the team. It’s influenced by the type of clients you have, the nature of the working relationship that exists and the type and essence of the work you do for them. At the end of the day, it’s ultimately more about personality than capability.
My past experience has taught me that quiet often even agency staff members cannot readily articulate what differentiates their agency when asked the question. It therefore follows that if they don’t know, how do you expect clients to know, especially prospective clients. And of course it goes without saying that if you talk the talk, to be authentic you must walk the walk. If you don’t, clients quickly see through the smoke and mirrors.
Agency’s that have a truly differentiated positioning that is aligned with their business strategy and goals have no trouble growing and being successful. They are constantly making sure that staff members and clients (both existing and potential) Know who they are and what make them different.
Those who do not or perhaps just find it difficult to maintain faith in their ideals struggle to survive. They have no reason for coming in to work every day other than a paycheck.