Finding the Right Fit in a Creative Agency Partner

Cretive Agency

Finding the right fit in an agency design partner can help a business transform the company, create differentiation, change perceptions, increase customer engagement, and drive growth. 

A great business cannot stay static. When the market evolves, their customers’ needs change. Therefore, a company must be able to adapt to quick changes and still ignite growth. 

There are businesses out there who think if you stick an ad, website, or flyer in front of a customer, they will immediately be compelled to buy their product. Unfortunately, grabbing the attention of your audience is not that cut and dry, nor that easy. 

Not only do poorly designed ads, websites, and marketing materials not perform, causing you to lose money and time, but they can also hurt your brand. Finding a creative team you can trust is imperative to your marketing efforts. Here at Total Design Works, we can help you with that.

So, how do you find the right fit in a design agency partner? With these tips and tricks, we’ll show you just how easy it can be to find your perfect match.

Be Realistic About Your Company’s Size and Needs

Are you a small or large company? Local, regional, or national? Are you a company which makes 2-3 products or one which manufacturer 100’s? If your company ships globally, you’ll want to mention that, too. You’ll also need to mention whether or not you have a corporate brand with a specific trade audience. 

Compose a detailed explanation of your company brand, your mission statement, and your audience. Having this ready to give to the potential agency partner will elevate many back and forth questions and help them keep your goals on track.

Define the State of the Business

Here’s where a business owner or upper management wants to get real. Your design agency partner needs to know if your business is in good health or if it’s facing some significant challenges. Note whether the business needs revitalization, seeks a new customer relationship, or wants to brand itself with a different lifestyle or age group. 

Defining the state of your business will help prospective agencies understand your business success, the challenges you faced, and opportunities for your brand to learn whether they might be the right fit for you.

Solidify the Scope of Work

After a business defines their state of the business, they’ll want to determine the scope of work and level of partnership they seek from a design agency partner. An ongoing partnership with a design agency creates a stronger relationship and helps solidify the partnership to both parties. As time goes on, the agency will know the business on a more intimate level – which is a good thing – and they’ll be able to bring new ideas to the table.

The agency will continue to observe the business and make relevant audits where necessary. 

It’s more challenging for agencies to engage in a business when there is less frequent work as the agency tends to remain less invested in the business brand due to the lack of time spent on projects. A business will spend more time keeping them up to speed on the business, making them less agile and potentially less innovative with their work output.

The more committed a business is to an agency partner, the more likely the agency is to provide 24/7 access.

Identify a List of Potential Agencies

There’s great success with tapping into your peers for references and referrals. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask what design agency they partner with, if any. Trustworthy business peers can provide a business with first-hand experiences working with creative design agencies that can help narrow down or expand the list of potential agency partnerships.


Referral and networking sources can also provide insight into a potential partnership’s ongoing relationships, their communication style, their creative output, and how on par their strategic thinking is.

Consider Agency Size

Sometimes agency size matters. Small or boutique type agencies are often the ones who will go the extra mile and do what it takes to get there. They’re typically faster and more responsive compared to a larger agency. 


Smaller design agencies may not have all of the capabilities that a more extensive design agency may have. Larger agencies will vary in size, scale, and employee layers. The good thing is, agencies of this size can be a global powerhouse with bandwidth, local experience, cultural experience, and extensive capabilities that a business brand may require. 

Determine a Budget and Payment Structures

Before partnering with a design agency, a business needs to determine its budget and payment structure. Knowing the budget will help a company understand what is realistic for their potential agency partnership. 


Budget estimates will also help the design agency understand whether they’ll have the needed staff for and whether their budget will mesh with the required work. 

While common in some businesses, retainer-based relationships are actually quite rare in the creative industry, so it’s essential to understand the compensation. Include things like – whether the agency will bill the business for project-based work as accrued or if the compensation model stipulates performance-based rewards and other fees.

Don’t Forget Staffing, Communication, and Partnership Expectations

Some agencies will use their A-team staff for the business pitch, but then they will pull a switch and use their B-team staff for the work once the partnership has been secured. Make sure you understand who will be the account lead, the regular points of contact, and who will lead the creative team. 

Lastly, the business will want to clarify their preferred mode and frequency of communication. Do not be afraid to address all of the business needs – including the level of access. A business needs to know that when there is a burning issue at 8 p.m. that someone will be around to answer their call.

If your business is ready for branding and creative work, contact Total Design Works for branding and design services tailored to your startup or small business. With print support, web design, and more, our expert team is ready to deliver quality service – saving you time and money. Book a call with us today and let’s talk about your business.

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