PART 2: ENGAGEMENT

Most companies start out with a flat management structure, with top people involved in creating the product, running the business, marketing like crazy, making deliveries, doing the hiring and taking out the trash. But as the business grows, roles become specialized, until marketing, sales, operations, financial and leadership are largely siloed from one another.

Without being able to see the whole picture, you lose focus. With most B2B companies, a branding agency must work with several layers of staff, from day-to-day marketing coordinators to less-frequent discussions with the marketing director or CMO. Rarely does the agency get access to the CEO or other leadership and vice versa. Yet, it’s the insight from the CEO and other C-level executives that can be the most valuable for driving the direction of the marketing. Instead, the agency and the client’s marketing team go back and forth on tactical issues while major strategic decisions are being made without the benefit of the agency’s input.

In the meantime, your brand is being hijacked. Day-to-day coordinator-level staff are often the first gatekeeper between an agency and a client. Paradoxically, this gives them some of the most power in shaping your brand. Before they send it to their boss, they want to make sure the work is “just right” by changing copy, asking for design changes and watering down the idea until it’s safe enough to send up the ladder.

You can’t delegate marketing. Your leadership needs to be involved in more than just major presentations. They need to be invested at every level to ensure the best work is getting produced and that the agency isn’t in the dark when it comes to the direction of the business. For an increasing number of companies, their brand is their most valuable asset. If you’re a CEO and don’t know exactly what your branding agency is up to, the answer will probably surprise you. And when was the last time you liked surprises?