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If You Can Transform a Brand, You Can Transform Your Agency

Six Principles for Evolving Effectively

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Christine Fruechte
Christine Fruechte
As we head into the new year, it's only natural for us to reflect upon the previous one and make plans to improve upon what we accomplished. This often includes resolutions and changes. If you're considering a significant change at your agency, be it anything from a new office building to a merger or acquisition, it may seem like an insurmountable task. But if you've transformed a brand -- a challenge agencies across the industry are asked to undertake every day -- there's no reason why you can't transform your agency, regardless of size.

Beyond the physical and structural changes, here are six guiding principles to lead your transformation. Organizations and brands alike can benefit from these principles, however bold your evolution may be.

1. Decode your DNA. Know who you are. Every agency, just like every brand, has a unique story to tell. If it is the agency's role to carefully and insightfully uncover a brand's core DNA, then you need to do the same with your own brand. You need to honestly assess who you are, what core values define your culture, and what truly differentiates you from your competition to stear your vision, voice and foundation for the future.

2. Share your vision then relentlessly pursue it. Agencies and brands need to be transparent. Transparency allows employees to understand the road map, become a part of the journey and believe it is possible. It is vital to ignite an organization around a shared vision so that its people can take an active role in making it a reality.

3. Build strong advocates. Your agency needs loyalists and advocates, just as brands do. Fuel the loyalists within your organization and build the next generation of leadership. Hire talent that is smarter than you are and complements your culture. While raw talent is exceptional, personal character and cultural fit are just as important. You want advocates to fit in, believe in your purpose and be inspired to achieve it.

4. Every detail matters. Every facet of a rebranding campaign (internal and external) needs to work together and be consistent to achieve effectiveness. The same goes for an agency, which needs to create exceptional ideas and execute them flawlessly.

5. Promote a culture of accountability, collaboration and experimentation. Successful brands are accountable to their customers, but they can afford to experiment once in awhile to achieve greater success. An agency should create an expectation that every effort to reach the goal can't just be good, it must be great. Creativity shouldn't be a department, it should be an expectation. Fostering a collaborative environment (with colleagues and clients) can empower everyone to do his or her personal best and helps achieve optimal results.

6. Make every decision based on what supports the vision and stay the course. Don't be tempted to chase shiny objects. It is critical to base every decision on what's best for the brand and the business in both the short term and long term. Remain focused on your vision throughout your efforts. Don't let your resources be drained by exploring new businesses or partnerships that don't fit where you are trying to go. Keep your focus on what is right for you and your clients.

And remember, transformation does not happen overnight. Enjoy the journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christine Fruechte is president-CEO at Minneapolis-based Colle & McVoy.
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