In an age of conscious consumerism, where brand authenticity and social responsibility sit at the forefront of improved customer retention rates – finding the ‘right’ agency partner that aligns with your business principles matters more than ever.

Take Millennial and Gen-Z audiences, for example, where almost 80% prioritise authenticity when selecting a brand to engage with, or the 76% of consumers from all demographics that say they will no longer purchase from a brand solely because of its association with social, political or environmental issues.

From sporting B-corp, DEI, or sustainability credentials, to having alike ethical practises and purpose-driven client bases, this month we asked agency leaders and marketing experts from The GO! Network to share how they actively demonstrate their business values, what makes this so crucial for successful brand-agency partnerships, and how in-house teams can identify the agencies that meet their own criteria.

How In-house Teams can Identify Agencies with Shared Brand Values

Keep an Eye on the Numbers – Staff Retention and Level of Experience

Imogen Collins, Head of Digital Marketing at Genie Goals says, “we recommend keeping an eye on numbers like staff turnover, the experience level of those working on the account, and how many accounts a typical member of staff is managing. As well as more obvious signposts like being an accredited Great Place to Work or B-Corp.

It’s also vital that you’re aligned on your approach to digital marketing. An agency should exist to give expert advice that is tailored to your business objectives, which is honest and transparent. Some red flags to watch out for are – extremely low fees (how can they afford to offer a good service so cheaply?), and forecasts that seem too good to be true.”

Read: How to Get the Best from your Marketing Agency Relationships

Qualifications and Accreditations from Industry Bodies

John Barham, Managing Director of Roast says, “when looking for an agency, firstly I recommend looking at staff retention – a client-centric team who have been with the agency for a longer period are usually happier and therefore engaged, knowledgeable and more focused on their clients.

Other criteria include qualifications and accreditations from industry bodies which ensures teams have industry standard CPD (Continuous Professional Development), staying at the forefront of technology advances and ensuring client campaigns perform to their best ability.”

Open, Honest and Transparent Communications

Polly Chapman, Brand Communications Manager at Flaunt Digital shares, “hiding behind case studies and online testimonials doesn't really do it for us. We're completely transparent in the way we present our work, with data-led results to back it up.

We also know the real truths come from the people we've worked with. That's why we're always more than happy to put brands in touch with our existing clients for a private chat to see what it's really like to work with Flaunt.”

Marketing Agency Evaluation Checklist
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How do you demonstrate your brand values as an agency?

Working with the Right Clients for you

Imogen says, “as a boutique independent agency, we have the freedom to build an agency which makes us feel good about the contribution we’re making in the world.

There are a few aspects to this – the brands we choose to work with, the people who make up our team, the relationships we build and the approach we take to digital marketing.

Working with brands who are aligned with our values can mean choosing to work with purpose-led ethical brands, but it also extends to the approach and outlook of the people who we’d be working with.

We want to build relationships on trust and transparency with clients who are trying to do more than just sell more stuff. These kinds of relationships are one of the reasons our staff turnover is so low - nobody wants to work in an agency where ‘the clients are the worst part of the job!’”

View: What Successful Client-Agency Relationships Looks Like

Reward Account Teams for Client Satisfaction

John shares, “ROAST’s core values are Collaboration, Integrity, Restless Minds and Purpose. We are agency partners, an extension of the brands we work with.

We implemented a ‘Good Partner Bonus’, a non-KPI based, discretionary bonus which gives our clients an opportunity to reward their account teams for exceptional results – putting some of our fee ‘at risk’ based on client satisfaction – as we trust our teams to do great technical work, whilst helping our clients with the many little things that make their life easier.”

Having a People-First Approach

Polly shares, “Flaunt Digital was formed as a values-led agency. Ultimately, the aim is to do better than the agency models we’ve seen and been a part of, through honest, transparent communications and a people-first approach.

Our recent B-Corp certification is validation for everything we've worked to create and proves we practice what we preach.

We always make sure our clients are aligned to our values – which is why we’re working more and more with B-Corp certified brands as the alignment is usually spot on.”

Learn: How to Start – and Drive – Real, Successful Sustainability Effort for your Business

If you're preparing to build out your marketing strategy in 2024, make sure you're getting the most out of your resource. GO! offer cost-free advice on best-practise, provide independent agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.

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