• C.E.K. & Partners

Avoiding Pitfalls: Questions to Ask When Selecting a Branding + Marketing Communications Agency


In our recent post the Value of Insights we talked about quality. All too often, clients come to us to be the “fixers” when they sought out a brand solution that was fast or inexpensive. In the long run, they didn’t fully understand what the brand agency was offering them or get to know the team who would be servicing their brand.

We believe in asking the right questions to really understand any given scenario. Thomas Watson states it best: “The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.”

We have worked around the world at leading global agencies; we know the new business spin. And we’re providing you a list of questions that will help you make informed decisions as you select the right agency.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Branding Agency

What’s Included in the Proposal?

  • Similar to buying a car, one needs to understand what is included in an estimate. Does the estimate represent the base price or the more expensive model that includes additional features and functionality? What does the estimate really include?

  • Is the proposal comprised of hourly rates? If so, remember a senior person at $250 an hour for 1 hour is more efficient than a junior person at $100 for 4 hours.

What’s the Assigned Team’s Expertise?

  • All too often it is a borrowed expertise, meaning that it could be a former VP who held the expertise—even though she has since moved on, the agency “owns” the work or case study. Or the case study may be that of another division or sister agency, whose team won’t be servicing your brand. When an agency references a certain expertise, who on the team actually holds that expertise, and are they servicing your brand?

  • Often a junior employee joins a meeting to listen in, without actively contributing. Remember, this is billable time for the agency that you are paying for. Will your