Would You Like Fries with That?
Your ad agency should do more than just take an order
In the agency world, we have a lot of discovery meetings. We gather in a conference room to meet with potential clients and discuss the possibility of working together. Everybody shakes hands, exchanges business cards, and we start a discussion about what we do, what they need, and whether our companies are likely to form a good fit. When things go well, everybody leaves feeling optimistic about the future with mental wheels turning toward strategic and creative outcomes.
When things don’t go well, it’s usually because we weren’t able to fully explain the difference between “projects” and “programs”.
Some clients feel they’re just one step away from the realization of their wildest dreams. For them, the new reveal video or the new website is the one obstacle they need to overcome to achieve business success. These are the clients who want help with a project.
Clients like these feel like they know exactly what they need, and they’re just looking for somebody to give it to them, precisely like they already see it in their imagination. When a discovery meeting turns this way, it can sometimes feel like we’re in the restaurant business, standing tableside in our apron, with pads and pencils in hand, faithfully writing down the order before walking back to the kitchen.
Don’t misunderstand. There are projects, and then there are projects. Sometimes project work is great, and we take great pride in executing interesting projects well. But in general, that’s not what we do best. At times it can feel like an opportunity missed, even when a project client leaves happy. That’s because we understand what can be accomplished when an agency and a client work together to form a powerful creative team and tackle important business problems. And we know our best work takes place when we join with clients to formulate a long-term program.
Program clients are the ones we love the most. They have real problems, hopes, and dreams, but they don’t have all the answers yet. When a client like this tells us they’re ready to partner with an agency to help guide and direct their marketing efforts, the energy in the room is completely different. Suddenly the mood shifts, and a tangible sense of possibility fills the air. It’s exciting.
Clients like these know there will be projects along the way, lots of them, across multiple media platforms. What makes these clients special, however, is that they understand no single project is going to define their success. They understand that building a strong brand identity and promoting consistent messaging over time is a strategic, disciplined art. Most importantly, they recognize our agency to be a conscientious practitioner of that art.
So, with each new discovery meeting we get an opportunity to explain what makes us tick, and why we think our agency can be a great partner for a certain type of client. We love to meet new people and learn about their stories, but in a world full of projects we keep looking for the perfect program. Call us stubborn, or maybe a bit romantic, but we really are so much more than just order-takers.
About Hallaron Advertising Agency
Marcus Dunaway is Content Director and a strategist at Hallaron Advertising in The Woodlands, Texas. Hallaron is a full-service agency focused on increasing our client’s sales using TV, radio, mobile, digital, Web, outdoor, and social media. The agency works closely with clients, divining advertising strategy and implementing effective, award-winning campaigns.
2002 Timberloch Place, Suite 420
The Woodlands, Texas 77380