You’ve built and run an agency because you wanted to change (or at least impact) the world. That’s what agencies do, right? They are the driving force for almost everything we consume – be it a product or perspective. Agencies connect consumables to consumers. And even though many things are fluid, we have not stopped consuming.
But as brands strive to navigate how to appropriately and effectively engage their consumers, they’ve found themselves in need of new perspectives, new capabilities, new expertise, and new trusted partners. We know that consumers are open to hearing from brands.
“A 4As research survey [conducted during the week of March 16] of 1000 consumers looking at changing consumer attitudes during the COVID-19 pandemic found that 43% of respondents said it’s “reassuring” to hear from brands they know and trust, while 40% want to hear what brands are doing in response to the health crisis. Only 15% said they do not want to hear from brands at this time.”
But brands need a guide to effectively dialogue with their audiences.
It is imperative to recognize that your agency has a unique opportunity to lead during this time. You’ve built a team with the capability to deliver unique insights and captivating executions. You are positioned to be the expert that brands need in order to navigate a challenging time. Your clients have depended on you for innovation and now is no different. Yes, there is a changing landscape, but you run an agency – adapting to new, critical information is nothing new for you.
If your agency stands still, another will step forward and move you further back from A) a position of impact B) a driver in economic recovery for our country, your clients, your company.
Here are three things your agency can do while others are standing still:
1. Provide a Guiding Perspective
There’s always noise. Especially now. But, given the circumstances, the impact of the noise feels a bit more overwhelming. Be the guide that your clients & prospects need. Help them cut through the noise with a perspective on what you know that matters to them and why it’s important for them to evaluate. Provide a few, clear insights that can drive effective communication between their org and their audience. Note – having a perspective doesn’t mean knowing everything. One of the most dangerous things you can do in this environment is to step outside of your expertise.
2. Balance Confidence and Humility
In our industry, “sales” is rarely a welcomed principal or desired activity. However, the world is driven by communicating the value of a product, service, or idea to those who need it. Right now, there are tens of thousands of brands that are in need of the value you offer. Be confident in that value offer but also engage with humility. Most of us are open to helpful insights but turned off by unnecessary egos.
3. Be a Good Human
Most humans aren’t so great at change. We are all disrupted right now. Be sensitive to the fact that every person you are engaging with may be dealing with different stress. Whether it’s closures, a remote work environment, children at home, or new budget cuts, we are all working around new challenges. Use your time and assets to build and invest in relationships and providing assistance. That goes a long way with most other humans.
We understand the agency world is perpetually volatile.
But, it’s a bit easier to be a good partner when the world isn’t confronted with a pandemic-induced lockdown. How you show up during a time like this will have a significant impact on the long-term health of your business and client/prospect relationships. The current landscape creates an opportunity for you to show your clients and prospects what a great partner is. Now is not the time to stand still. You’ve invested in a team of experts, position them to deliver. Leverage your expertise to educate clients and prospects in how they can progress, if not excel, during this time. Be mindful of others and your investment in relationships will be fruitful.
Leading from the front is not easy. It requires confidence, intention, willingness to be scrutinized, and perseverance. But when the world and our industry begin to normalize, you’ll be better off leading the way than trying to claw your way out of the bottom of the pile.
As always, if you have questions, feedback, or want to discuss agency growth, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.