It may be September, but in northeast Ohio, it’s still basketball season. You may have heard our Cavs won the title this summer. You may have heard this incessantly from someone who lives here. Perhaps that person is me (I’m not sorry).
The thing is, after years of falling short, even with the league’s greatest talent, the Cavs finally pulled off a challenge greater than containing Steph Curry’s crossover. They discovered an identity, defined who they were, and not only put their resources in the best place to succeed, but kept them there.
What does this have to do with marketing? Not a ton. We don’t need a great reason to bring up the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers
(still not sorry). But there is one striking similarity…
To contend with a dynamic marketing landscape, most organizations hire multiple marketing agencies. Chances are, your organization can handle two or three channels well in-house. The same is true for most agencies. But in a complex marketing world comprised of inbound and outbound, content, social media, paid, organic and much more, specialization is necessary to generate significant ROI.
When we have the privilege of independently developing and implementing a comprehensive integrated marketing program for a client it is an exhilarating, rewarding challenge. But like most agencies, we more often find ourselves working with several partner agencies for clients. From the online rebate programs we design for Bridgestone, to the content marketing strategy for Roundtable, to the brand initiative we built with Kent State, the marketing solutions we deliver are often crafted to support much broader operations. We have our specialties, and the agencies we partner with on behalf of clients have their own. When positioned together as part of a well-planned, comprehensive strategy, a strong roster of agencies will deliver excellent results. Each agency knows its role, understands its purpose, and operates to serve the client’s brand identity.
That being said, without a strategy in place that clearly defines roles and protects your brand identity, a roster full of the best talent in the league will not – and cannot – get you anywhere. So, having a well-defined strategy in place to manage multiple agencies is crucial. This organizational structure greatly depends on where you want your organization to go…and who you want your organization to be.
Your brand image is ultimately shaped by your customer’s interactions with your organization at every stage. Your tweets, emails, logos, mission statement, newsletters, media reach – it all adds up to how you are perceived. You’ve already gone through the process of establishing your organization’s brand guidelines, voice, and social presence (Right?). It’s up to you to ensure your agencies are producing work that strictly aligns with your brand identity. Their job is to think differently. It drives a better product and stronger impact. But the dissonance generated by off-message communication is difficult to roll back.
Just like our Cavs, talent can only take you so far. Defining your identity, putting the right talent in place to support it, and executing a well-designed strategy is the only way to see significant success. Just ask our Browns.
A great agency can help you go anywhere. Only you can decide where you are going.