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Good communication is an elixir of life for our professional universe and its existence. All you need is love? All you need is good communication! Whether with colleagues, customers, suppliers, investors or the media, but also with the larger community in general. As soon as you start thinking about a communication campaign, the first thing you should think about is whether you can find the necessary resources in-house or whether a communication agency at your side is the right solution.
If the latter is the case, the search for the right partner begins. Google spits out thousands of results for you in no time at all. But how do you find your Perfect Match? Here is my list of criteria a communications agency should meet to find the way to your heart.
Your communication agency – love at first sight
Your chosen agency should of course make a good first impression. The website can be the deciding factor. Is it attractive? Designed with care? What about the languages? Is the site dynamic?
Who could judge all this better than your exes? Look at the references and look at the work for other clients. The agency’s presence can give you a foretaste of possible cooperation – and above all of what your communication campaign might look like.
If you like the first impression, don’t wait any longer to get to know each other. The agency will then have the chance to convince you at second glance. Did they react quickly to your e-mail, for example? Was it easy to contact them? Such answers can give information about how the future cooperation will proceed.
Opposites attract – or do not attract
As soon as you start to deal more intensively with a communications agency, for example in a first telephone call or a personal meeting, one thing is particularly important: the chemistry must be right. You’ll enjoy joining us right away. Good communication means one thing above all else: understanding your counterpart. In this case, for example, with regard to market, target group or key message.
So let the first contact pass in review. Did you get the impression that your ideas and wishes were being taken into account? Were the people you met sympathetic and authentic? Do they suit you and your company? And was there an honest and transparent exchange about what they could offer you and your company?
Putting a ring on it
After these initial contacts, the agencies will usually send you an offer. But take time to say yes – in the best case you only get married once.
So what should your chosen one bring along at this point? The first thing you should realize is that the offer was made individually and for you personally. The agency should have recognized and understood your specific wishes and needs. Furthermore, carefully selected references should be included. And possibly already ideas and approaches how they would approach your topic.
But it is also important not only to look at the result, but also at the path. Is there a clear process and a possible timetable? Are milestones and intermediate steps visible? Is there enough room for feedback and exchange? Depending on how skilful you are in the matter – could you fully rely on the communication agency and its creative competencies? Basically, it’s all about one thing: flexibility. Can your future partner adapt and respond to your needs?
Don’t buy a pig in a poke
This is a very important aspect that we have not yet addressed: Money. Because, of course, the offers will also include a price. First of all, you should be sure about one point: Is it a binding or non-binding offer? Non-binding offers include an estimate of the price. Communication agencies prefer this type of offer if there are still many uncertainties. In this case it is possible that the price will end up being higher than stated in the offer. The key is transparency. Has the agency communicated this clearly? Can it give you a cost ceiling? Are they prepared to commit themselves to this figure?
It is always important to compare apples with apples. If there are considerable differences, there is usually a reason. Perhaps one communication agency offers only a standard solution, while the other produces an individual unique specimen for you? Take a close look at what is included in the price – and what is not. For example, how does the agency deal with feedback and its implementation? Would that cause additional costs? If so, how high would that be?
Our gut feeling rarely deceives us. But love can also blind us. So take enough time to take a closer look at your future communications agency before you embark on a new adventure.
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