As I write this post, connective3 is just four months old.
In the past four months we have achieved exceptional growth allowing us to work with global clients, build a team of 16, receive multiple award nominations, acquire companies and renovate a large city centre office space in Leeds.
Even though we are a new agency we have the approach of a much bigger, more established agency. Our team have decades of collective agency experience behind them and have combined their big agency experience, with the agility of a small start-up approach, which is why, I believe we have been able to achieve such fast levels of growth.
Growing your agency
For new agencies, the most common way to achieve growth and to establish a stable client base is to work with smaller brands initially, until you’ve carved out your market share and established yourself. When working with brands of this size, it’s likely that you’re meeting with a relatively small team, pitching ideas into just one or two people who could be the founders, the SEO team or someone similar. With so few stakeholders to win over, your ideas are easy to sign off and the concepts are usually less important than the links that they gain.
The challenging stage comes once you’ve grown and started to work with larger companies, and you realise that roles and the focuses of the teams that you pitch to have changed significantly. Now, you will have to sell ideas into the brand team, the PR team, SEO and possibly even legal and finance teams. There are more hoops for you to jump through, and there are more eyeballs on the work you create.
In my opinion the above scenario is why many digital PR’s struggle. As an industry we still think it’s the norm to pitch ideas that we know will work for journalists but have absolutely nothing to do with the brand they are designed for. If you want to win pitches, and ultimately achieve growth, for your team and agency then the campaign ideas you think of need to align with the overall business objectives, and work for all stakeholders in the business, and not just the ones whose remit the campaigns fall under.
A relevant approach
Relevancy is the key to achieving this, and it’s not becoming more important, it is already important. In basic terms, if you work with an automotive brand and run a campaign on cars, this will surely be more effective overall than running a link campaign on travel.
Now, I’m not saying don’t be creative, in fact I’m saying quite the opposite. There is obviously a need to be flexible and create content that is maybe just outside of your product offering but remember there is a limit.
You need to understand what works with your audience of journalists, and also what fits in with your client’s brand and tone of voice. If you fail to tailor your ideas in this way then you will always struggle to work with those bigger clients who hold the bigger budgets, and in doing so you will restrict the overall growth of your agency.
Put simply, irrelevant ideas will deliver poorer results and restrict growth. To truly succeed and to grow within the digital PR sector you need to focus on relevance as well as the accompanying creatives.
To see how we at connective3 run campaigns which achieve both the quantity, quality and relevance see our post on strategic creativity here.