What value can a professional design agency add to my business? It’s quite the question, and obviously, we’re slightly biased.
However, having worked with nearly 200 clients since we started, we feel like we’re in a great position to try and answer the question.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight:
A great design agency should not be designing work to please you. Yes, if you’re happy, well that’s fantastic. But essentially, you want your design agency to be pleasing your clients.
That’s what you’re paying for:
For us to work on behalf of your business, to create a brand, website, or digital marketing campaign, that sells to your customers successfully. You’re not paying for us to satisfy your every whim, fancy, or “random flash of inspiration.”
Design should be used to solve problems. In most cases, the problem is helping you sell your business to your customers.
So how can your design agency add value to your business?
Evaluate Your Brand and Business From a Fresh Perspective
When you spend a lot of time working in your business, you develop tunnel vision.
You can’t see the clouds for the dirt, and vice versa. You’re working to clear the workload, and often forget about the bigger picture.
Bringing in a design agency to evaluate your brand and business from a fresh perspective is often overlooked. Most of the time, they can see several things that you’ve missed, and highlight them for you.
Being able to look at your brand and business objectively is a huge asset.
You as the client can then tap into their findings and find out exactly where there is room to grow and improve.
One of the first things we do with our clients is run a brand audit. In that session, we’ll take a look at their current position vs where they want to be.
Sure, you could carry out your own brand audit. But it would be very insular and isolated.
Having a design agency come in and poke around, asking you questions in a different way, and making you think in detail about your plans, can really open (or reopen) your mind to things you might have forgotten about.
Act as a Sounding Board
And this works in reverse too. Not only are your agency there to push you for answers to questions and make you think, but they’re there to provide answers as well.
Here’s an example from one of our clients:
Setting up at the start of 2017, our client’s business, Company A experienced enormous business growth. They’ve went from zero to several million pound contracts in the space of a year.
Now, this has opened up several opportunities and ideas for the directors of the company.
They’re talking about starting Company B to facilitate a need, and Company C to service Company A and B.
However, they didn’t know whether to run this all through one website, one business name, have one logo, or have three?
They used us a sounding board for their ideas and together we worked it out.
So, not only should your design agency be poking around in your business, but don’t be afraid to use them to answer your questions either.
Design agencies have now crossed into digital marketing. There’s a bigger need than ever for the “one stop agency” – and if you have all that knowledge under one roof – use it!
Explain Away the Jargon
A good design agency should be able to explain away any jargon, or clarify any terms that you might be confused about.
Unfortunately, in the branding, web, and digital marketing industry, jargon is a massive problem. A good design agency will realise that not every client understands what PPC is, or what WordPress is, or a CMS.
This is why we write blog posts like Digital Marketing 101. It helps us to explain the basics to clients and potential clients.
And they should then be doing their best to avoid using technical jargon, and when it does come up, they should be explaining it away.
Rather than saying a CMS, they should explain what a content management system is, and the principles behind it.
Rather than PPC, they should explain pay per click advertising, and how their client might utilise it.
A recent client of ours was looking at cloud storage. They couldn’t decide between Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft One Drive. We sat with them and went through all of the options, explaining the ins and outs and simplifying terms for them.
This was easier for them to understand, than reading jargon terms from a pricing table. Eventually they were able to make the right decision for their business.
Jargon rarely helps anyone, and having someone their to explain things to you can really pay dividends.
Explore New Directions and Ideas
Having a design agency that you trust and can rely on, means you’re able to bring new ideas to life quicker.
We’ve been part of many a meeting where ideas are flying all over the place. Things can tend to get a little crazy when everyone is pumped up and enjoying it.
We’ve been in a meeting where we started talking about branding, went on to talk about a website, moved on to talking about a web app, then a mobile app, then a digital marketing strategy. It was a serious discussion, where the company were thinking about investing in each of the different areas, and brains were melting with the amount of input.
What a good design agency should be able to do, is cut through the noise, and get to the heart of the matter. We worked with our client make a sensible roadmap that helped them realise their goals.
Everyone loves to explore new directions and ideas, but having a design agency involved in your discussions will help to make sure you don’t get lost down the rabbit hole.
Another positive to having a design agency involved in early discussions, is that they can help…
Prevent Expensive Mistakes
We’ve been involved in “rescue projects” before. Where a design agency has deliberately lead a client down the wrong path, just to extract more money from the project.
Besides being completely unethical, it doesn’t help anyone. First of all, most clients will wise up to your strategy, and then, they’ll leave you in the dust. Nobody wins.
An honest design agency, will put their needs on the same level as their client’s needs, not above. They’ll go above and beyond to help their clients, as they realise the longer term value is in the relationship.
Here’s a real world example:
A client came to us with a website that they wanted to extend. They had a new Ecommerce requirement and needed help realising their vision.
However, the agency they had used previously – had coded the site in such a way – that to add the functionality required, the entire website had to be ripped up and started again.
And that should never happen. Your website shouldn’t have an expiration date.
Brands and websites shouldn’t be designed for now, they should work now, but also work in the future. Otherwise, you could end up forking out a lot more cash in the future.
The right agency will help keep you on track, and be open and honest about their practises, and why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Become a Source of Trusted and Professional Advice
A lot of the value your design agency can bring to your business is based around trust. It’s all in having a great relationship with each other.
If you trust your agency, it’ll open up a lot of doors and ideas, allowing you to grow quicker. If you don’t, things could go sour quickly.
You can use your agency to realise ideas, as a sounding board, to prevent mistakes, explain away the jargon and more.
But here’s something else to consider:
If you trust that your design agency are looking out for you, not themselves – the amount of added value intensifies. If your agency have suggestions, or things they want to try, and you trust that they’re truly looking out for your best interests, you’re adding more heads to your business.
Having more people contribute to your business vision is a massive positive.
At Canny, we recently suggested a booking system to a client, that allowed them to massively capitalise on their digital marketing efforts. They took our advice, and now they’re managing to >make more bookings through their website, using organic traffic.
We suggested it, because we knew it would help them grow, they trusted us, and we were right. That’s real tangible value.
Recommend Other Partners
At Canny, we don’t build mobile apps, or provide PR services. However, our clients often need these services.
What we can do though, is step in and make several recommendations. We’re also able to recommend printers, merchandise manufacturers, and more.
We should also make a note right now, that you should never use a low cost print supplier. They’re cheap, nasty, and can ruin your brand.
Having a design agency on hand, opens up a lot of doors and trade industry links. Essentially, you have access to their address book (is that a thing any more?).
And, when procuring new services and products, surely you’d prefer to use a company that come highly recommended from someone you trust?
I know we would!
Becoming Your “In House” Team, Without the Salary
Your design agency should essentially become your “in house agency”, without the salary commitment. Or at least that’s how we like to work with our clients.
We want to provide as much value as possible. Giving our honest opinion and thoughts when asked, and suggestions when we think they’re going to add value.
A lot of startups and small businesses, don’t have the budget to bring in one designer, let alone a team of designers – so put your work with a reputable agency that you can trust.
We’re very much in the corner of our clients. We want to build trust, and grow their business.
Think about it like this:
If our clients do well, and we do a good job for them, then we grow with them. Because they’re happy, they want to continue doing work with us. The bigger they grow, the more work they put our way.
It’s a win win situation.
And finally, your design agency can help, by…
Delivering the Goods
You’ve decided to bring in a design agency to solve a problem for your business. And that’s where they’ll add a lot of value.
Whether you’ve brought them in to develop your brand identity, build your website, or grow your online presence – this is where they’ll thrive.
Your design agency should always be delivering the goods. If they’re not, maybe they’re not the right partner for you? Picking the right agency can be tricky, but get it right, and you’re adding a valuable asset to your business.
Conclusion: What Value Can a Professional Design Agency Add to My Business?
A professional design agency can add immense value to your business. From helping with your branding and brand identity through to your website and online presence, working with a professional agency will help set you apart from your competition.
The right design agency will help your business grow.
They’ll not just produce pretty visuals and nice looking design work for you. They’ll dig deeper and get to the heart of the matter.
A design agency’s job is to solve your problems through creative means.
They’ll talk with you about your sales, your funnel, the goals of your company, what you’re trying to achieve in both the short and long term and much more. They’ll then work with you to implement a plan, highlighting areas that they can help, advising you on potential partners for other areas, and really help to propel your business.
Forming a trusted partnership with a design agency will ultimately enable you to grow and develop your business. And if you’re looking to do that, well, we know the perfect people to help you with that.
What are your thoughts on the value of a design agency to your business? Have you had any positive or negative experiences? We’d love to find out, so leave us a comment below.