Bigger doesn’t mean better…

Posted on by Charlie Haywood

We sent out an e-newsletter to our clients recently and the introduction covered some of the areas we are improving, such as being transparent on costs, clear on timings, and flexible enough to deal with changing priorities. Being a small agency we have to offer something more… something better.

In a survey (by British Design Innovation) 22 of the UK’s largest design services buyers, were asked to Name three things that annoy you or have annoyed you about design agencies – these buyers used large Top League UK design agencies.

Here are the answers:

  • Agreeing framework terms & conditions, then asking for their standard ones on the next job; Lack of transparency on costing.
  • Finding a client to fit an idea; Not considering the brand; Arrogance.
  • Lack of transparency in costs; Budget control; Complex process.
  • Lack of transparency in financial proposal; Lack of knowledge about our company; Not adhering to brief (e.g. brand guidelines) if requested to do so.
  • Lack of transparency on pricing; Insisting on having paid for pitches – they load the cost on their hourly rates anyway and they are no different to any other part of the creative services industry; Arrogance.
  • Late delivery; Expensive non-design costs; Leaking stories to the trade press.
  • No commercial awareness; Lack of process; Arrogant.
  • Over billing; Low level/low quality staff; Trying to charge for a pitch.
  • Not listening to client opinion; Poor execution of design idea; Extra costs or stages of work not flagged up early enough or controlled well enough.
  • Not enough focus on delivering ‘value’; Lack of transparency; Inability to demonstrate good measurement.
  • Being too in love with their own design – and trying to sell it to you, We know what we want – if they have to sell it – it’s not good enough.
  • The client is the customer not the agency; Follow the brief; Be transparent with costs.
  • Cold calling, ridiculous number of ill informed calls; Not listening to the brief; Poor communications within the agency.
  • Unwilling to utilise our preferred production suppliers; Not considering ROI; Not providing differently costed proposals.
  • Unwillingness to adapt materials; Difficult to get successful copy written; Too expensive.
  • Costs.
  • Inconsistent account management; Not being clear in case studies as to their actual involvement in projects; Not sticking to the budget.
  • Not responding in line with brief.
  • From a Procurement perspective – lack of commercial representation/knowledge at Agency. We use esourcing system and agencies do not read very specifi c instructions and need a lot of hand holding which defeats the object of using an online system to save time!
  • Complaints about overservicing.
  • Lack of cost transparency.
  • Cold calling; Being too pushy; Not listening to current strategy.

These are the honest, unedited opinions of design commissioners from some of the UK’s leading companies (and interesting to note that lack of transparency on costs was the largest response!).

We are a small agency. We’ll continue to do things better.

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