They say trust is hard-won and easily lost. But trusting outside vendors with the keys to your success, is not unlike trust in any important relationship – it has many layers. Honesty, Integrity sure. Ethics and Moral judgement, absolutely. Those baseline hurdles should be a given. But what about trust of vision, or trust in desired outcomes? What about trust in the expectation of value – of getting the best quality for the lowest cost?
Even within the agency world itself there are sea change patterns in the way companies look for outside help – moving from Agency of Record (AOR) to project-based engagements.
“The shift away from AORs and towards project-based work continues to intensify, with 35% of agencies reporting that over 60% of their current work is project-based. This is a 15-point jump from last year, when only 20% of agencies reported over 60% of their work as project-based.” –Hubspot.
Again taking ques from trends in cloud computing, the gig economy, remote work forces, and global competition, companies are decidedly aspiring towards more efficiency – and more wisdom – with their spend. Productized service marketplaces (like Fiver) offer cheap ways to get a lot of things done – which can work well in some instances for small or startup business; but try your luck getting counsel there, or transfer of knowledge, or a guarantee of a predictable outcome on such restrictive and unmanaged platforms where talking to the person you are trying to manage or collaborate with is forbidden. Conversely, try getting those things for a fair price at an agency.
Smart money today wants to buy predictable, quality outcomes rather than brand names and pedigrees on the one hand, or cheap grade, arms-length services on the other.
The natural next step is a hybrid of the agency project model with the gig economy, where companies are only required to engage (and pay) for the outcomes they desire. As importantly, even the top-grade stewardship of trust with something as important as a re-brand can be reliably outsourced on a fractional basis.
Do you need a swarm of USC Communications PHDs typically housed in a tier one or tier two agency, or do you need one committed and experienced leader with an army of talent at your disposal?
Ultimately, that question can only be answered by business leaders. Our proposition is obviously the latter, but anyone considering this choice must think about specific outcomes and how much of a role the agency of choice really matters to achieving them. Just because you must pay more for teams of experienced leaders in an agency model, do you really think they’ll all be hands–on with your project? Does spending more money guarantee better quality?