At some point or another, agencies will likely run have an idea for a client campaign or project that requires outside help to ensure a flawless execution. Hiring creative experts from a related industry, whether they be commissioned or collaborative, open up the breadth of what an agency can provide. I’ve found success partnering with illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, bloggers and stationers.
In working with creative professionals outside of your own company, you give yourself, and importantly, your client, the opportunity to upgrade what’s possible in terms of campaign development, experiential marketing, visual design and so much more. With key partnerships in place, much like in an influencer partnerships, brands can boost the value of these collaborations by extending promotion by said partners, many of whom have their own substantial online presence.
As you think about how to refine or expand agency offerings in the New Year, consider the role of freelance or boutique creative agencies with complementary skill-sets.
1. BUILD A LOCAL NETWORK
We’re quite spoiled in this modern age of being able to foster global relationships office but don’t ignore the opportunity right in your backyard.
Like many, I have passion for supporting homegrown, small businesses. Fostering strategic partnerships with creative professionals in my area has allowed me to take advantage of immense talent from individuals and groups with home I already share a personal connection through our shared location.
For me, a relationship with creative professionals comes from my participation in a local chapter of a much larger, international network of photographers, event planners, videographers and more. This has lead to my involvement in styled shoots – which is notably a great way to obtain vast, cost-effective content for social media for my clients and myself. It has also allowed me to share my experiences, and in return hear about others’ experiences in business. For you, it could be these things, something different, or even something more.
2. EXPAND YOUR SEARCH
Now, while working with local talent is wonderful, it’s also not the only way to find ideal partners. For agencies with multiple locations, or clients based in different places, it’s a smart strategy to network in key areas. Build a little black book of thoughtful, fruitful relationships with creative professionals, and then use this curated directory of ideal partnerships to elevate your work for your client’s benefit when the opportunity arises.
Ask your editor friends who they enjoy working with, check those credit tags on Instagram posts, take advantage of suggested account to follow, and check credits of your favorite magazines. One trick is to save images on Instagram into collections for each client. Then, when you’re ready, you know exactly who you have identified as a potential partner.
3. BRING CREATIVES IN EARLY
A creative mind is a terrible thing to waste! The earlier you can invite your outsourced creative team members to review project goals, timelines and key messaging the better. You may find their input to be invaluable in terms of opening up new creative solutions or trade secrets to keep that budget down.
Even if you don’t have a specific project on the horizon, it’s never too early to set up a few meetings to find those business owners who align with your mission and vibe. You may want to partner on an agency-only initiative in order to test the working relationship, or give a small project (for a new business pitch, for example) to begin to build a portfolio to use for future client buy-in.
This post was originally featured on PR Couture.