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Beyond the communications agency to brand custodians

While the agency scene in South Africa is rife with specialised large agencies, many of which are affiliated to global agency networks, the trend amongst small and medium independent agencies is to also specialise. This model certainly has its pros, as it requires fewer people who can concentrate on doing one thing well.
Beyond the communications agency to brand custodiansWhat's important for brand managers, is focus, not on an area of specialisation, but on their brand. Clients are tired of getting lost in the maelstrom of competing job bags that float around larger agency silos. Today's marketing professionals require attention and focus that only small to medium sized agencies can offer.

Of course, being a full service agency is not easy. You cannot profess to be a jack-of-all-trades and disappoint your clients by being a master-of-none. At the same time, how can an agency add value to a client's communication objectives when they're just thinking about one aspect or one communication channel?

Real value is added to a brand when the complete consumer experience is created and executed across all channels in a synchronised manner with one consistent tone of voice. At Gullan&Gullan our brand-centricTM methodology involves putting the brand at the core of a finely synchronised mix of appropriate communications channels and ensuring quality, integrated outputs that work together to meet our clients' objectives. Only a full-service agency can offer such consistent storytelling over time.

So how do agencies do this?

It all starts with the right team. At Gullan&Gullan we've recruited a robust team with perfect skills in digital strategy and development, traditional and experiential design, social media and public relations. We then have all the supporting skills in place, such as project management, client service and finance. We're also fastidious about our third-party vendors like printers and production houses and will only partner with service providers who share our passion for quality outputs. What's been important as well is embracing change--we're not afraid to let go of people who hold us back, or ideas and processes that have become redundant.

Lastly, be cautious about latching onto every communication channel or tool (especially in digital) that has become trendy - unless you genuinely see a long-term future for it and that it demonstrates real value to your agency and - importantly - your clients' brands. Choose to become proficient at only the ones that help tell a brand's story more effectively and efficiently and demonstrate real value - for the long haul.

Remember that brands are the new real estate and they should be at the centre of your communication agencies universe. Then the consumer's experience of the brand should be designed and executed to be consistent in all relevant online and offline media channels. This full-service structure means an agency's relationship with their clients' brands is that of a true custodian.

15 Aug 2012 11:12

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About the author

Desirée Gullan is the Creative Director of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touch point from above- and below-the-line, online, social and all brand experiences. Visit www.gullanandgullan.com.




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