There are over 120,000 + Agencies, either: Brand Agencies, Digital Agencies, PR, Promotional, 1:1, CRM or Media related in business today in the US. That makes it a highly competitive industry. So this means agencies that have a clear brand strategy, distinctive brand positioning and brilliant storytelling will outperform those that don’t.
In today’s marketplace, whether it’s here in the US or globally, agency positioning statements are the key to the ‘promised land’ of great ROI. This means having a unique segmentation and differentiation strategy is more critical than ever before if your agency is to standout, be sustainable, be authentic and memorable in the crowded world of Agencies.
In today’s ‘always-on’, digitally connected world – it’s never been more critical to build and manage an extraordinarily innovative positioning in the marketplace. Like everything in life – you have only one chance to create and make a great first impression. As Lois McMaster Bujold once stated:
‘A stunning first impression was not the same thing as love at first sight. But surely it was an invitation to consider the matter.’
I also think Malcolm Gladwell also nailed it about ‘positioning’ and first impressions when he stated,
“We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.”
He’s not alone in saying this, others have also emphasized the need to put a ‘stake-in-the-ground for a differentiated positioning. Here’s what some industry giants have said:
“Most ad agencies are lousy at taking their own medicine when it comes to the most basic of marketing principles: Positioning. 90% are weakly positioned.” – Tom Monahan, Wall Street Journal
‘The biggest problem for advertising agencies is none of them act as brands. We pretend that we’re right for everyone…and we’re not.’ – Sir John Hegarty, Chairman of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH)
‘The industry whose primary expertise is to create brand differentiation, is itself a lumpen mass of undifferentiated brands.’ – Nick Souter, ex Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett Advertising
SO WHAT FACTORS MATTER IN AGENCY POSITIONING?
I believe the major considerations that all agencies must focus on are based upon potential clients, current clients/brands, genuine areas of strength and experiences.
How are they differentiated from competitors and importantly, is what they have to offer clients memorable, authentic and sustainable?
When I have been involved in this discussion, I counsel Agency leaders to talk with existing clients first about the direction they want to take. Then, after getting agreement and blessings from the key existing clients, I suggest that you discuss your ‘new ‘ positioning with others, so:
- Talk with Business Consultants
- Talk with competitors
- Talk with all staff and
- Analyze all competitors media report cards
- Talk with Headhunters and Executive Recruiters
- Talk with key Industry Media
AGENCIES MUST DETERMINE THEIR OWN MAJOR POSITIONING AS A PRIORITY
Bottom-line, for most agencies, both in the US as well as worldwide, there are really only a handful of positioning options. In many cases, how you express your positioning will be as important as what it is.
I believe it is therefore critical for an Agency’s new brand positioning to be distinctive and at the same time to fit in with the organization’s mission and ambitions.
Here are seven primary positioning segments. I also think these are some of the best of examples of Agency positioning in action.
- The Results e.g. BBDO states – ‘We know what works and what does not. It’s all about results.’
- The Work e.g. ‘We create customer experiences. Our campaigns are fully integrated.
- The Process e.g. ‘We Understand Your Consumer’
- The Agency e.g. ‘We’re full service’
- Local or Multinational e.g. ‘We’re part of WPP, IPG or Omnicom’
- Nimble and Small or Global e.g. ‘We’re based in Greenwich, CT’
- We are Experts e.g. ‘We take challenger brands to #1.
As Al Ries and Jack Trout famously stated in their book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind – “Positioning is a revolutionary approach to create a ‘position’ in a prospective customer’s mind-one that reflects a company’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.”
I firmly agree, these claims are more important than ever, even though they wrote these statements in December 2000. Advertising gurus Ries and Trout also explained how to:
- Make and position an industry leader so that its name and message wheedles its way into the collective subconscious of your market-and stays there.
- Position a follower so that it can occupy a niche not claimed by the leader.
- Avoid letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one.
Positioning also shows you how to:
- Use leading ad agency techniques to capture the biggest market share and become a household name.
- Build your strategy around your competition’s weaknesses.
- Reposition a strong competitor and create a weak spot.
- Use your present position to its best advantage.
- Choose the best name for your product.
- Determine when-and why-less is more.
- Analyze recent trends that affect your positioning.
BOTTOM LINE, IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE A CLIENT’S PRODUCT OR SERVICE THEN YOU NEED TO DO THE SAME FOR YOUR OWN AGENCY!
Now For My Positioning – Globally Experienced Business Development, Growth Expert & Influencer
I advise advertising agencies on how to grow, build and manage extraordinarily business plans plus, innovative business development programs.
I have 25 years experience in the Agency world, both in US and globally and launched Omnicom Group’s first digital agency in San Francisco in 1999. I have also run Multinational Advertising Agencies, 1:1, and digital agencies. I understand the importance of brand positioning, messaging and marketing issues confronting global, mid-sized, small agencies and startups!
I excel at helping agencies become even more productive, have greater clarity and deliver high performance outcomes for my clients. Why not contact me today so you can get your Agency off to a better 2018?
About Geoff De Weaver:
Since 1985, Geoff has helped pioneer the use of inbound/outbound marketing, content marketing strategies, leadership, digital, PR, innovation and social media marketing specifically for agency new business.
Geoff is one of the Advertising & Digital industry’s leading agency New Business Thought Leaders. His extensive cross-cultural expertise spans five continents, multiple languages and hundreds of companies. Over the course of his career, Geoff has won more than 90% plus of the brands/ businesses he has pitched. (Rare in an industry that averages 20%-25% success rate is considered good.)
Geoff can also access hard to reach brands and clients, fully examine and target your exact needs and requirements in all channels. I can even pitch on your behalf and happily be the extension to your company’s new business team.
Proven, in-depth expertise in Internet Marketing, leadership development, organization design, performance management, training, ideation process and communications. Areas of focus are leadership, innovation, agency profit and loss, global business development and executive coaching.
Importantly, I develop Ad Agencies, PR Agencies or Digital Agencies to discover power, accuracy and efficiency through properly sequenced and correctly timed mechanics. Geoff is a strong globally experienced strategic thinker, active practitioner, and perennial entrepreneur.
Give me a call and let me show you a better way and prepare for the future, +61 411 224 961 or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Brand Management & Operations, Digital Marketing, Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Training, New Business, Consulting, Management, Strategic Planning, Leadership Coaching, High Performance, Negotiating, Team Building, Operations, Developing Strategic Business Development & Marketing Plans, Massive Results and Ad Agency Growth.