10 things to look for in an advertising agency – Anup Kumar Agarwalla

You are looking for an Advertising Agency in Kolkata? God bless you! Go straight to www.azurecom.in and give us a call. We will do the needful. Thank You.

Ah! You want to do it the Hard Way? No issues, here’s the easiest of the lot. Just search Google and come up with the names that have the answer that you seek. Seems Easy, right? Wrong. For, you will only get the names that have been SEO-ed to lure you. The one hovering at the top is NOT there because it has the answers, but because it takes its Search Engine Optimisation seriously.So, you want to do it the “traditional” Hard Way. Now that too is easy, just run yourself through the following 10 parameters to judge the agency that will give you the killer stuff at bargain basement prices (your wish, not ours)!

  1. How “creative” is the agency?

An agency is only as creative as its work. Don’t get taken in by the geeky outfits and customary Rickshaw as a prop in the visitor’s area. Check their work. Do that have it in them to help you sell whatever you are peddling? Remember, it is not the awards that maketh the agency. For most often, agencies create dummy campaigns that are aimed at winning awards that help them to win clients. And yes, the client who walks in, impressed by the awards, is the one who pays for the dummy campaign.

  1. What is its staff strength?

Go for a lean agency. One that is mean and hungry to boot. Too many people on board and the costs shoot up (apart from the red tape). Too few, and they either can’t meet the deadlines or end up passing off shoddy products. Either way, you suffer.

  1. How long has it been in business?

Ask. For otherwise the Owner / CEO / The Chosen One / Creative Juice Maker (they do give themselves weird names) will not tell you that the agency has exactly been 7 months old. Well, 9 from the time the agency he worked in last fired him and 8 since his Creative Director cum DTP Operator cum Accountant and his girl-friend (Head of client Relations & HR) joined him.

  1. Who are its major clients?

Well, the “creatives” that the agency did for the “Chor Bizzare” organised by the Ladies Wing of Mechuapatti Traders Association is not really stuff the write home about, neither are the vague logos that crowd the clients section in the agency website. Chances are, they are as fake as, as, well, why bother?

  1. What according to it, is its own USP?

Why will you give them your work? How do they justify the association? What will they bring on the table? At what cost? Big Deal, if they claim that they are the biggest, they have to earn their keep and for doing that, they have to satisfy your queries first.

  1. Which area of advertising does it specialise in?

Ask them what makes them even half as great as they claim to be? And mind you, “creative” is a relative term that agencies use loosely, so don’t take that for an answer. Ask them to specify what sets them apart? Is it space buying? Is it digital marketing? Events? Print?

  1. How seriously do they take client servicing?

Agencies have this strange habit of sitting on your work for no palpable reason. They fail deadlines as the norm and give you excuses that are so damn fantastic that had they not landed you in the pathetic situation that they normally do, you would have had a hearty laugh. And on top of it, they send in a lady with an air that is as fake as a replica watch that is Made in China. Boss, it will be your business that will be on the line, so make sure that the guys are serious about their stuff. Make sure that they are serious about servicing, about deliverables. Make sure that they understand that Client Servicing is not merely about serving the client with the bill.

  1. What kind of price points does it offer?

At what cost? Who pays for all that glitter that is definitely not gold? Are they asking for a retainership? What will they charge you for the artworks? On what basis will bills be raised? Ask them for an itemised “scope of services” offered with tentative costs so that you can compare them to going rates. (Well, you cannot put a price on genius, but what the hell?)

  1. How wacky is the owner / CEO?

Now the pony tail. And the ripped jeans. And “the Geek shall Inherit the World” T-shirt. Well, appearances are deceptive. Check out the credentials, the product, not the packaging. There are instances of big things coming in small packages and big packages full of hot air. It is for you to choose. Choose wisely.

  1. Is it envied enough by its peers in the fraternity?

Finally ask around. Remember, flattery can be bought, but envy must be earned. If three out of four agencies that you talk to spits venom about one, then, by all means, go for it. The have earned their place in the advertising sun. Curved out their niche in the agency space.

Once you are through with the research, go ahead and ask me. And I’ll tell you, what I said right in the beginning. It’s called www.azurecom.in. Some things (agencies included) are forever!

(Anup Kumar Agarwalla own and runs the boutique agency weaving bespoke creatives and communication ditties for a host of brands – Azure Communications. Azure will be ten this November.) 


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