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What Makes A Number One Agency?

Do you want the short answer or the long one?

I am a big fan of Bill Drummond. There are a number of touch points in my life that mean I have become close to his art, music and theories. Be it his founding of Zoo Records, the release of Wild Swans ‘Revolutionary Spirit’, his K Foundation, for which he commissioned a friend of mine to create the logo (his first paid for job). Or perhaps that I sat next to Ricky Lyte at primary school. He went on to be Ricardo da Force, the rapper in KLF.

A key influence he was happy to share, after achieving a Number 1 record, was his knowledge of how to do it in The Manual (on how to get a number one hit the easy way)

In the spirit of this, and having achieved the status of being the Number 1 marketing agency in the construction industry, I thought it was time to share my knowledge.

The first and most obvious point is that it takes hard work. Yes, hard work to get to the top, but hard work generally on a day-to-day basis. Think of anyone you know in life, or sport that has risen to the top of his or her game. They will all tell you that it means hours and hours of putting in a shift, getting better and better at what they do. The same is the way that I see my team working.  Instead of hitting a ball against the wall, or dragging a tyre around the local park, they put in the hours through thinking, exploring, researching, writing, designing, or looking out for what will make a difference to their client’s campaign, to make them stand out, to make them rise to the top. When they need to know more, they come forward asking others for their help, experience, and knowledge and if they can’t find it within the agency, they’ll go out and find it. Digging around the net, going out to events, or finding the right training course. So although it starts with hard work, it has to come from an innate passion in the industry and the nature of your job and to want to work in an agency that supports and appreciates you and your efforts.

Married to this personal effort is the need to work alongside and maintain a close working relationship with clients. One of the elements that we take pride in is our strong client relationships over the last 31 years, with our longest surviving account nearly matching that, at 30 years, but we have an impressive list of clients that have remained loyal for 20 years downwards. It starts with an honest approach in what we think is best for our clients to enable them to achieve maximum results and return. If we think differently to what they have asked, we will challenge them. Client loyalty means a lot at CIB and we trust that this is reflected both ways. When you realise that some of our staff were barely born when we embarked on some of our relationships, then this gives you a real sense of perspective. So it’s important to work well with your clients. This can only come about with an element of hard work and doing a great job as above, but the hard work has got to be backed up with providing a planned, credible, well thought through and reasoned case for their project.

This credibility is backed up by the extra effort we put in to know what we do is right. In an industry that is driven by standards, legislation and a need to improve and perform, then it is important that we know what we’re talking about, so that we can advise our clients as to the right path and course of action to take to enhance their communication and, as importantly, how we approach it. In an ever-evolving sector with the notable changes we have seen in the use of print and digital media, it is paramount that we understand how it changes, how we can utilise different platforms and methods of delivery to ensure that we get our clients messaging across to maintain their credibility and status in the market.

As well as providing our clients with industry knowledge, it is so important that we work with them on a personal, human level. How else are we going to gain their trust and loyalty to maintain these long-term relationships we so desire? It was a great testament, seen at the party we held for Andy Cassie on his retirement, that so many clients, suppliers and ex-CIB staff, many from way back, came along, as a reflection of this loyalty.

So if you were looking for the short answer as to what makes an agency Number 1 in its field. It’s Honesty, Support, Passion, Knowledge, Loyalty and Credibility and, of course, a lot of hard work. So, you’re on the right path and you should be rewarded for your hard work in getting to the end of this article.

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