Developing a differentiating positioning strategy for your agency is hard enough, but bringing it to life throughout all of the agency’s business practices is where the real work comes in. To assess how you’re doing, gather your management team together, and ask them these 20 questions:
Purpose and Principles
1. Has our agency articulated a purpose that transcends making money?
2. Are we perceived to have a set of differentiating principles that guide our daily business decisions?
3. Have we developed and communicated a clear focus and positioning?
4. Do we have a well-understood strategy for differentiating ourselves from other agencies?
5. Have we taken the necessary steps to focus on what we do best?
6. Have we developed proprietary approaches that support our positioning and add value to the agency brand?
7. Does our business model optimize our positioning?
8. Are we creating the necessary intellectual capital in our area of expertise?
9. Are we effective at using internal communication to insure that the entire agency understands how we want to develop the agency brand?
10. Have we identified clear hiring standards for the kind of people we need to reinforce our positioning?
11. Do we use employee development tools such as performance reviews as a means of engaging every associate in bringing the positioning to life?
12. Are our people engaged in an on-going professional development program that supports the goals of the agency brand?
13. Is our corporate identity an effective reflection of our positioning?
14. Are our people aware of a clear set of criteria for identifying prospective clients based on our positioning?
15. Does our website reflect the style and substance of our desired agency brand?
16. Is our work development process aligned with our positioning?
17. Does our approach to working with clients further differentiating our agency brand?
18. Does our positioning allow us to capture a premium price, and are we able to capture the real value we deliver to our clients?
19. Do our offices and other brand touch points reflect the desired brand identity?
20. Is our positioning reflected in the way we create first impressions: our e-mail, voice mail, etc.?
While this list can look a bit overwhelming, remember that this is the type of work you do so well for your clients. The most successful agencies are able and willing to devote the time and energy to do this for their own brand. An agency positioning strategy is only as effective as the way it’s executed. As the axiom goes, “Without execution, there is no strategy.”