Less Labels, More Problem Solving

Agencies put a lot of thought into how they position themselves, and end up labeling themselves based on the services they are able to offer. It makes sense, right? Why wouldn’t you showcase the arsenal of resources you have in the most direct way?

If a two-person graphic design shop brings on a copywriter, strategist and some account execs, boom, they’re a branding firm.

Or a PR solopreneur doesn’t want to pigeonhole him or herself, so they label themselves “communications.”

It’s not that this positioning and labeling based on your inventory is the wrongapproach. There is no wrong. There is only you and how you make it work.

I just think there is a healthier way to look at it.

Marketing, advertising, public relations, communications, branding , user experience — whatever name you’re giving it — it’ s all about one thing and one thing only: solving business problems.

A client doesn’t care if you have this type of employee or can run this type of program or your head copywriter has won a billion prestigious awards. A client cares about her brand, her boss, her future and, above all else, her company or department’s bottom line.

Sure, agencies often brand themselves based on industry. That’s one way to get right to the point and be perceived as an expert. But it’s also a way to pigeonhole yourself for life. You are forever and always the fashion agency or the car agency, etc. If you’re willing to commit hardcore to that philosophy and go all in, there’s no doubt you will find clients and be wildly successful.

That’s your label, and unless you are willing to make gigantic pivots every 10 years, you are tied down to the finite number of clients deep in your “niche.”

Ask yourself: What if you spent less time worrying about labels and more time solving unique problems for your clients?

Toucan is a New Orleans-based advertising agency.

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