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Welcome to S Squared, the digital marketing blog of Shaw + Scott. We’re your go-to source for staying looped in on the industry’s most innovative trends and brand strategies. We cover the latest and greatest in cutting-edge marketing insights, helping you to navigate the digital spectrum-and take your program to new heights.

The Right Stuff: Defining Your Agency Values

Vinca Swanson July 27,2016

We can all start each workday with shining gratitude—businesses across the board and around the world have officially acknowledged that  digital marketing matters. Our designs are valued, our strategies toward promoting brands are implemented, user experience laid out and built by developers have paramount priority in determining final product completion. Practical creativity, great ideas and bold innovation is now what sets agencies apart from one another.

There are many different aspects that bring value to working with a given agency. As agencies, we need to hone in on what sets us apart by holding fast to the goals that exemplify our company. Defining our core values allows clients to truly understand just what kind of focus we bring, and where our strongest skills lie. By placing a premium value on your services, you put your company in a more powerful position to maintain clients that you want to work with, not have to work with. This is a more desired position for both parties.

So, in today’s vast and ever-evolving marketing ecosystem, which elements should agencies value most? And how can we enforce our agency’s core values? Here are a few key places to start.

Great Design

This may sound obvious, but these two magic words  go a long way. Great design is the singular superpower an agency has for showing their creative chops visually and making an immediate impression on potential clients. Great design lasts a long time and gives your company lots of returns. To ensure design that gets your agency noticed, you need dedicated creative minds to consistently pump out the ideal, but you also need to allow these same minds to stagger, experiment, probe, question, and sometimes fail. This is the nature of the work.

Full Team Involvement

An agency should have the confidence to be able to involve every single team member in any given project. If you have a designer intern, that intern will be involved somehow. A strategist should be available to consult a developer in the building phase. The account manager should be able to easily retrieve technical beta for clients. And so on. And speaking of clients, these team members should also be participating in the decision-making process from start to finish. Weekly client check-ins and confirmation on milestones are essential for avoiding assumptions and streamlining decisions. This kind of involvement produces an environment where the client and agency share responsibility for the outcome—teamwork at its finest. Use all the tools you have available to create an effective collaboration, and your agency becomes a fine-tuned, well-oiled marketing machine.

Define Your Legacy

Every agency wants to convey their unique sense of soul and personality—this is where defining your legacy comes in. If your company is still in the beginning stages, think about what you would like to leave behind. By five years old, an agency should have a carved out a solid trajectory toward what it wants to accomplish as a marketing force. I say should, because sometimes companies have to take pause to figure out who they are, and change course accordingly. It can take time to define the right path. Will your legacy be rooted in amazing branding strategies, or will it be your involvement in bettering the world? Will you offer services to those in need, or will you be at the forefront in innovation? Asking yourself these questions is important for figuring out how to best define your agency, and provide a clear path for your employees and clients.

Sharing Is Key

I’m not talking about social media strategy, thank goodness. I’m referring to the act of sharing among employees to produce the most creative, lively, happy bunch of inventors possible. It’s extremely important for creatives to have a workspace that encourages sharing ideas, and fosters a culture of true collaboration. Think of monthly challenges for employees. Set up weekly knowledge shares for departments. Clear out client work twice a year, for three days of non-client related product ideation and creation. Always encourage education, travel, hobbies, and other interests. These are just a few ideas that allow employees to grow, work on projects together, share insights, and forge meaningful bonds as a whole agency.

These elements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how an agency values itself, its employees, and its clients. It’s up to you to decide how these values, and others, can best benefit your company. By taking the time to hone in on what matters to your agency, what your goals are, and reflecting those elements in how you present yourselves to the world, you go the extra mile to make your agency truly stand out. And, as we all know, you can’t overstate the value in that.

Tags: Digital Marketing, Digital Strategy

About The Author

Vinca Swanson

Vinca Swanson

Interactive Web Specialist, Shaw + Scott (Portland) A creative developer with a passion for ideation, Vinca brings top-notch strategy and flawless execution to every campaign. Vinca specializes in email marketing, UX design, and front-end development. She also has a solid background in SEO. Vinca digs deep into each campaign she works on to ensure that every box is checked and no stone is left unturned. Vinca has worked with such brands as Holland America, Home Depot, Lululemon, Oracle, Harry & David, and Coca-Cola. Prior to joining the Shaw + Scott team, Vinca worked with Un-Cruise Adventures as a Graphic Designer and Email Marketing Specialist.