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What is a creative agency?

A question that we often hear is "what the heck even is a creative agency?" If you're a business owner and have heard this term thrown around but aren't sure what a creative agency can do for you, stick around.

This post will explain what a creative agency does, who can benefit from working with one, and how to pick an agency that is right for you.

A creative agency helps clients achieve their goals using creative strategies.

"Creative agency" is the umbrella term for an agency that offers a variety of advertising and marketing services. It can be helpful to think of these services as belonging to two categories: creative and strategy.

Creative Services

Creative services can include:

  • photography

  • videography

  • graphic design

  • web design

  • branding

  • copywriting

  • packaging

Strategy Services

Strategy services build on and implement the creative. These services can include:

  • advertising strategy

  • social media strategy

  • branding strategy

  • media strategy

  • SEO strategy

  • public relations

Quality creative paired with personalised strategy drive a brand forward. A targeted approach can bring your product or service in front of the right people.

"Do I need a creative agency?"

Not everyone needs a creative agency. If you have an in-house team capable of executing your marketing and advertising, then you can most likely do without one and get away with hiring freelancers whenever you need something extra. There are a couple of indicators that you might benefit from hiring a creative agency:

  • Creating consistent, quality content for your brand is overwhelming and time consuming. Content creation should be a priority. Consistently released, on-brand content converts to sales. Too often businesses (especially young businesses) get trapped into thinking, "if I build it, they will come," and don't put enough thought into how their product should be presented, when, and to whom. Quality creative + smart strategy = sales. If, for example, you're finding that you're putting off organising a campaign photo shoot for your brand because the task of finding a photographer, organising a location and models and hair and makeup and wardrobe and everything else seems like too much to handle, you may want to hire a creative agency.

  • Your current strategy isn't exactly delivering results. And you're not sure why. Creative agencies can advise you on how to achieve your goals. If you're selling a quality product (or service) but no one seems to know about it, or sales aren't where you want them to be, or you're feeling a bit lost in the sea of advertising jargon and Facebook Ad algorithms, a creative agency can help.

  • You've DIY'd everything so far and seen some great results, but now you're ready to take your business to the next level. We get it. When you first start a business, there's a lot to be done and most of the time it has to be done on a shoestring budget. You have worn all of the hats - including graphic designer, photographer, and social media manager - and your brand has grown faster than you expected. But you're tired! Or maybe business has plateaued a bit after the initial hype. Creative agencies can take some of those hats off your head and develop a strategy to take your brand to the next phase of growth. Creative agencies have teams of people ready to help, so you can focus on the other aspects of running a business.

"How can a creative agency help my brand?"

There are many ways that a creative agency can help your brand. A creative agency can be hired to fill gaps in your team, for example if you don't have the budget to hire an in-house social media content creator.

  • Creative agencies create quality content, quickly. With social media becoming the go-to method of searching for products and services comes a need to post stand-out quality content consistently. Creative agencies have a network of experienced designers, photographers, videographers, and strategists know who to call upon to do the best job for your specific needs. They eliminate the need to vet freelancers and can produce a variety of content through one convenient point of contact. These extensive networks allow creative agencies to produce specalised work for your brand quickly and efficiently.

  • Creative agencies can offer a fresh perspective. You're immersed in your brand day in and day out. Working with a creative agency brings in new (and unbiased) eyes, which means they can pick up on things that may have been missed and offer new ideas that can help you to reach your goals.

  • Creative agencies have in-depth knowledge. A creative agency works across industries, with a range of clients. They know what works and what doesn't, and your brand benefits from these past experiences. The result is less trial-and-error for your brand (which saves time and money) and a more results-driven approach.

"How do I choose a creative agency?"

There are lots of agencies out there and they each have their strengths. To find a match for you and your business, look at a creative agency's offered services, portfolio and location.

  • Offered services. Some creative agencies have a niche - like working with environmentally-conscious brands - that aligns with your goals or business. Creative agencies can also be full-service or focus on a specific area such as branding and packaging design. Take some time to consider your needs, then look for a creative agency that offers what you're looking for.

  • Portfolio. A portfolio is the fastest way to learn about and view a creative agency's prior work. It is important to note that each client presents a different brief to match their own needs, however the quality of work overall can still be gauged by looking at a creative agency's portfolio.

  • Location. There are benefits to choosing a local creative agency that go beyond supporting local. In-person meetups (in a Covid-safe manner) can help form an organic connection between brand and agency. After all, creative agencies can be seen as an extension of your team, so why not get to know them? Delivery of products (e.g. to be photographed) is also easier to do locally. Our advice is to start the search locally, you may be surprised with what you'll find!

Think you might benefit from hiring a creative agency?

We at Lousy! would love to hear from you.

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