Is the specialist creative agency on the endangered list?

There are many creative agencies in the UK – a quick google search returns figures of 25,000+ marketing agencies and over 2,000 digital agencies, not to mention around 2,400 design agencies and goodness knows how many freelancers offering services privately. How then do you find the one best suited to, and understand your needs, and how do you quantify costs against value?

Sadly, some organisations are focussed only on pushing out content at all costs using tools themselves with AI which while they can do some of the heavy lifting (or use cheap design from a generalist firm or freelancer), the content and communications they create lack the finesse a specialist creative agency can bring.

Specialist creative agencies are respected for the expertise they have acquired in a specific sector over many years. As a result of this focus, they understand the challenges of the sector and through consultation and collaboration can quickly assess a client’s challenges and proactively come up with relevant solutions.

Engaging a specialist creative firm is more than just a purchasing transaction, where value is measure in hourly rate and time taken. It’s about trust and partnership, sharing the challenges faced and then having an open mind to work in partnership on solutions that will deliver the desired outcomes within the context of the client’s brand.

The key ingredient here is taking the time to understand the challenge before diving in with creativity, that on the surface may look good, but which can sometimes lack depth and an alignment with the organisation’s identity. With deep knowledge built over many years of working in, and understanding the issues of a specific sector, and then being able to overcome them by applying that knowledge, the specialist creative firm will deliver solutions that show an understanding of the sector. The solution won’t be the same from client to client but the process of getting to the solution will – understand it, solve it, review it.

Most specialist creative firms take their professional obligation seriously from the outset and ensure they fully understand the issue before suggesting an approach. After all, you don’t go to the doctor and expect to get the correct prescription without first giving them a detailed description of the symptoms of the illness. Approaching design and creativity should be no different.

It is important to commit fully to the first stage, if stages two and three are to be fully successful. Sadly, for those that see buying design and creativity as a transaction, stage one is often undervalued – there is a reluctance to invest the time and effort in this first stage when, in truth, stage one is where the specialist firm invests the knowledge they have acquired over many years. Granted, not every project or piece of creative design is complex but again, by choosing to work with a specialist firm, their ability to determine the extent of how their skills can be best utilised will ultimately pay dividends.

For some organisations the misconception persists that the value of design and creativity revolve around “making it look pretty”, however this is not the true value a specialist creative firm can add.
With a deep understanding of a sector and the organisation, used correctly, design and creativity will help overcome a very real business challenge.

Successful organisations understand the value of their brand and see creativity and design as the differentiator for their products and services while some of the competition, driven by advances in technology and oversupply see the outputs increasingly as commodities.

It would seem then that it all boils down to what an organisation sees as value and the price they are prepared to pay for this – is value how cheaply you can purchase design and creative and the speed at which it is done or is it how effectively the overall creative solution will resonate with your customers and target audience?

Cohesion Design is a creative agency working within the insurance sector. Established in 2003 and now in their 20th year they have over 35 years knowledge working in the insurance sector.

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