Imagine this: You step into an elevator and find yourself face-to-face with a potential client such as P&G. You have just a few floors to win their interest, just a few floors to make an impression and convince them you are worth a second look. Beyond your agency name, what would you tell them?
Some agencies want to showcase everything they do, hoping that something will stick. But my advice, after speaking to dozens of small agencies, is that you should focus on your "superpower"-that thing your agency does that it's especially good at and that clearly differentiates it from other agencies. It's your superpower that will be most memorable when being considered for a new project.
So how do you know if your agency has a superpower? Many small agencies tend to work incognito, like Clark Kent. So, to help you discover your superpower, I suggest looking in these five areas:
1. Your heritage story:
What premise was the agency founded on? What has been the heritage and history of the agency? What is the story behind the name of the agency? Any of these can give a prospective client insight into your philosophy and approach-and lead you to the answer of what sets you apart.
2. Your client base:
Do you attract a certain type of client or category? Some agencies have multiple clients in healthcare, food or beauty. These multiple projects demonstrate a proficiency that might be applicable to the new project. Or maybe your agency has developed a strength among a specific group of consumers, a geography or even a style of advertising. This by no means is designed to pigeonhole you into always working on that kind of project, but it can indicate where your superpower might be hiding. Many superpowers can translate into adjacent areas that clients may be looking for. Maybe you have a talent for dealing with taboo topics or new products, or maybe comedy is your preferred advertising tone.
3. Your best work:
What is some of your best work and who were the clients? When you showcase this work, what is it that makes it your best work? What are you most proud of? Is there a common thread?
4. Your people:
Look around your office at the people you have attracted. Is there something consistent in the interests, experience or skill sets of your team that can help you identify the agency's superpower? Are you animal lovers, copywriters, fans of improv, foodies, musicians or escapees from big agencies? Do you tend to hire more makers, illustrators, writers or data analysts? Look around the office. What adorns the walls? Is there a clue to your superpower for potential clients to see?
5. Your products:
What are your clients willing to pay for? Is there a certain service or product that brings clients in the door? When you complete a project, what service gets the most praise? This may help you zero in on where your agency brings the most value.
These are a few tips for finding your superpower. Personally, I find it far more memorable and helpful to hear about an agency's superpower as brands and clients are often looking for something specific versus an agency that can do everything. Those superpowers are often the best thing to showcase what you can do. So, what are yours? We only have a few floors, and we really want to know.
But please, leave the superhero costumes at home.