12 July 2012 27 Comments

Brand positioning: how to push your small marketing agency above the sea level

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals


The rate at which Marketing Agencies are springing up today is good for competition. Many have argued against proliferation of many small Agencies when they can merge with larger one to make a formidable team. My take is if a team feel they can bring necessary changes to the system and transform existing playing ground to a better one why should they be compelled to stay within a marketing agency that is not fully optimising their potentials.

We must realise size is not as important as impact. So whether marketing agency is a five-man team or one with five thousand global branches, what is important is the uniqueness it brings to the table. Size may be good but research has shown many large size marketing Agencies only used top and knowledge experts among its team to bid for a brief after which a junior officer is assigned to handle the beat.

 Anyone starting out a marketing agency needs to understand it can be rough at the beginning. This is especially so if the founder or team members are used to collecting fat salaries in the previous postings where they were employees. Starting out requires a high level of entrepreneurial spirit with a can do will. To stay afloat, here are our thoughts today.

Vision: without a vision things go out of hand. A marketing agency that copy and paste other agency’s vision will always become a second fiddle. Sit down and identify your own strength, narrow down if that region had been ‘polluted’. Staying focussed will help along the line. Long time vision will help you understand you may not successfully compete with the global agencies if you want to be jack of all trade. You will continue to float for years.

Innovation and going extra miles:  An advantage many small marketing agencies have over big ones is that it is easier to make changes to what is not working. In large agencies, approval and protocols may delay necessary changes required. As a start up you do not want to show yours client it is expedient to go beyond the required assigned job especially when time and occasion demands that. Be willing to add additional benefits big agencies will not want to offer.

Build thought leadership through social Media: Social media now offers start up Agencies a varied opportunities to communicate and build thought leadership. Brand communication has been made easier through available and varied online media. Keep building content and thought leadership, you will be surprised where request for briefs can come from. Research had shown that not many big agencies are fully optimising social media channels. They may have accounts but how much of thought leadership are they building?

Annex your contacts: Your previous contacts will help you going at the initial stage. Get the words out there.  We do understand not many start ups have the advantage as they have never worked in a serious agency within the industry. But if you have right contacts, go after them. A caveat here, never expects everyone will buy into your ideas as fast.

Seek global affiliations: After a while, it will not be a bad idea to seek global affiliation. We still live in a ‘make-believe’ world. People are still mesmerized with the quality of associations around you.

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