How to raise your agency's profile in 5 steps

The quality of an agency’s work is meaningless if the market doesn’t know it exists. That’s why, when bidding for projects, the most valuable asset an agency can have is an illustrious profile.

We've cajoled insiders from two of the UK's leading marketing agencies (Matt Henkes, marketing PR and digital content manager of Bray Leino, and Claire Lund, marketing programmes manager at The Marketing Practice) to share their top profile-raising insights.

1. Choose your channels carefully

The channels you occupy need to be strategically justified; simply sharing a platform with your competitors isn’t sufficient. Claire Lund suggests finding out which sites your customers use for different types of information. “Post content (your own and third party) on these sites, engage in discussions and always create content with relevant search terms.”

A particularly strong approach for marketing agencies is thought leadership – this can come in the form of downloadable guides, blogs, feature contributions and event speaking slots. These insights work as currency in exchange for profile traction. As Matt Henkes puts it: “Think like an editor. Resist the urge to sell at every opportunity. While sales and promotional content definitely has its place in the mix, people are acutely sensitive to any attempt to dress it up as thought leadership, and they’ll immediately think less of you.”

2. Run your own events

We’ve avoided using ‘networking’ as a step, because it’s an agency necessity that starts to wear thin after a while. But as Claire points out, by taking control and running its own events an agency can demonstrate interest and expertise while promoting the brand to a room full of people. 

She also emphasises the fact that humility's the order of the day: the purpose of these events isn't just to gather a captive audience, but a means to meet new faces and gauge industry trends. 

3. Designate a profile-raiser within the agency

Perhaps the greatest challenge to raising your agency’s profile is time. With client work taking priority, profile-raising respondibility should be shared across the whole company - and start with the agency leader. Having the specialists at the top of the organisation advocating the brand won’t only lend authority, but also encourage others within the agency to follow suit. 

However, maintaining a steady flow of editorial and social media content from several time-poor contributors takes someone on the inside. As Matt explains: “Unless someone’s managing it all centrally, you'll risk becoming disjointed, inconsistent... often non-existent. Profile is inextricably linked to new business strategy, so for me that’s where the responsibility logically sits.”

4. Promote your clients' work

“Not only with the channels your agency owns, but by setting up an advocacy programme to extend the reach to their network as well as yours,” explains Claire. And there are several ways to do this, such as entering award ceremonies. “Promoting the success of your clients work by entering awards will help boost your profile with potential clients as well as other agencies.”

5. Find your voice and be consistent

Do you remember when Devonian singer Joss Stone started speaking with a broad American drawl in a misjudged attempt to raise her profile? Learn from that, be authentic and consistent. Having a compelling tone of voice is hugely important when building a distinctive agency, so have an opinion and take a stance; nobody talks about the agency that doesn't say anything.

“And drop the marketing-speak,” says Matt. Rather than making the agency sound in touch, it'll just turn people off.