Beyond an agency: How thinking like a brand can achieve long-term success as an agency owner
May 22, 2023
You’re not just an agency owner. You’re an entrepreneur who has started your own business with a vision and a purpose. You have a passion for your work and a drive to succeed.
However, as your agency has grown, you’ve had to take on more responsibilities, and that original spark is becoming dormant in your subconscious. You now see yourself as a “service provider.”
You’re so bogged down with the day-to-day running that you aren’t prioritising things like your agency’s positioning, your heritage story, the pain points you solve, the digital experience you provide and all the rest that a super hot brand can’t afford to be without.
What’s wrong with that? Why do you need to think like a brand?
To create messaging that drives interest: By thinking like a brand, you’re obsessing over your target audience. You’re speaking their language, putting their frustrations into words, and providing them with a solution. You should consider and clearly state the immediate benefits your agency can bring to your clients in 3 months (these can be emotionally geared) and in the long-term i.e. 6-12 months.
To demonstrate expertise through effective thought leadership: Putting out regular content can establish you as a thought leader in your industry. By creating content that showcases your expertise and insights, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor to your clients and also drive SEO ranking for essential keywords so that you’re more discoverable online.
To differentiate and attract the ideal client: By creating a unique and compelling brand identity, you can stand out from other agencies and attract clients who are looking for a specific type of agency. This will inform your positioning, one that resonates with your target audience.
Premium pricing and value perception: Brands often command a premium price due to the perceived value they offer. Likewise, agencies that position themselves as brands can charge higher service rates. By demonstrating your unique capabilities, showcasing a track record of success, having a premium brand design, and delivering exceptional experiences, you can increase the perceived value of your services.
To increase loyalty: You can build stronger and more loyal relationships with your clients and employees. Create content around your values and mission to attract clients who share your vision and are likelier to stick with you long-term.
Make better decisions: When you think of yourself as a brand, you can make better decisions for your business. By considering what your agency represents and what kind of image you want to project, you can make choices that align with your values and goals.
So how do you start thinking like a brand? How can you reconnect to that passion and drive that you had when you first started? Let’s go back to the basics.
Why did you start your business?
You started your businesses because you saw a need in the market that wasn’t being met. you wanted to provide better services, offer a unique perspective, or create a more inclusive and diverse workplace. Whatever the reason, your businesses are an extension of themselves and your values.
Reflect on the above. Ask yourself:
What problems am I solving?
What impact am I making?
What legacy do I want to leave? Besides free coffee in the break room, of course.
By revisiting your purpose, you can reignite your motivation and enthusiasm for your work.
Do you need to reset?
Sometimes, you may need to reset to realign with your purpose. This could mean reassessing your business model, looking at your positioning and services, or recharging in the Maldives. By acknowledging your current state and making adjustments as needed, you can ensure that you stay true to your values and vision. And if you’re super clear and connected to your values and vision, your employees will be too.
Has your brand evolved since you started?
It’s common for brands to evolve over time as businesses grow and change. Maybe your agency’s focus has shifted, or your target audience has evolved. It’s important to remember this when thinking about your brand positioning and marketing assets. It’s essential to update your positioning, messaging and imagery to reflect your current brand identity and resonate with your target audience. We have a whole article on how to unpack the complexity of positioning, check it out.
If you consider yourself a brand, who would you be, and how would that help you make decisions?
It’s a good exercise for agency owners to think of themselves as another well-known brand within a sector. Of course, you’re uniquely you but drawing inspiration from a renowned brand can greatly assist in articulating your own identity and fostering connections with clients.
You’ll find that it’ll help you make choices that align with your values and goals. For example, if you want your brand to be known for innovation and creativity, you might invest in new technology or hire more diverse talent. You can then create clear and consistent messaging that resonates with your target audience.
So don’t be afraid to see yourself as a brand. By thinking of yourself as slick as Apple, as popular as Nandos and as relied upon as Amazon Prime, you can create a more meaningful and impactful agency that reflects who you are and what you stand for.