It’s a welcome feeling to be back with a full service advertising agency after spending years heading communications for established brands. The atmosphere is nourishing to meet new brand owners / managers and seek their briefs, to take a deep dive in the brief and understand their true story, to design a communication objective and to prepare a creative interpretation for them.
All is not good though.
Unlike the bigger established brand custodians the small brand owners are yet to graduate to the retainer model of working with the agencies. Some look at retainers as waste of money when there is not much communication required for a specific time frame. But they do not understand the importance of a dedicated team comprising creative, art and copy sitting ready on the vigil to render services as and when required. A team that has researched every aspect of their brand and is equipped to justify any of their communication requirements.
That’s not going hand in hand. That’s not the right partnership. Agencies and brands can’t seem to agree on the value of the retainer, and it’s holding back the entire industry.
This is digestible to an extent with a creative and design retainer but falls flat for a digital retainer. With lack of complete know how on digital marketing and its importance many small brand owners whisk you away when you demand a retainer for managing their digital marketing. It’s a nail biting experience to explain them that the retainer is not just about their facebook and twitter, it’s about the entire digital and social media marketing.
Hope the situation shall change soon. Hope I continue to have fun in a full service advertising agency and enjoy the commercial negotiations too… Especially Retainer!