Working with an advertising agency can help generate new business, but how do you find the right company for your brand?

What are advertising agencies?

Advertising agencies specialise in planning, designing and producing campaigns for their client companies. They can provide businesses with in-depth knowledge of the advertising industry, as well as the creative flair to produce innovative ideas.

Costs can vary depending on the agency’s reputation and experience. However, if the advertising campaign is successful in generating new business, this additional income can often offset any outlay.

Consider what you want from an advertising agency. Who are your customers? What sort of image do you want to create? What is your advertising budget? Having a good idea of what you want before you approach an agency will save time and energy.

Find an agency

It is important to ‘shop around’ to find a suitable agency for your requirements.

Information can be gathered from a number of sources:

Online searches and media focused magazines and newspaper sections are a good place to start familiarising yourself with the market place.

There are annual awards given each year to promising and burgeoning businesses involved in advertising and marketing campaigns. See who is hot this year and who isn’t.

Once you have a few names then drop a line to people in the know and ask for their opinions. Be sure to tell them about your business so they can suggest people who might be relevant for you.

Check out the local competition. Although most agencies are in London you might have some great talent on your doorstep, pay them a visit and have a chat and ask lots of questions.

Look in your local Yellow Pages and Thomson directories under ‘Advertising Agencies’ for agencies based in your area. Or visit www.yell.com for an online version.

Ask friends and business associates about their experiences with advertising agencies. Word of mouth is often the best recommendation.

Consult the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the professional body representing advertising agencies. Members of the IPA must satisfy critical criteria prior to acceptance.

Initial meetings with agencies are usually free and they will often provide you with a presentation of work carried out for existing clients. Consider if you and your colleagues impressed with this work and the manner in which it is presented? More importantly is it relevant to the type of campaign your are looking for?