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Agency vs. Individual

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If the internet is responsible for anything (other than funny cat videos) it’s a surge in the DIY mentality. ‘Just Google it!’ is the mantra of 2016. So the question begs being asked; Why would you opt for an agency when you could hire a freelancer or maybe even do it yourself? Here’s our answer.

I: MASTERY

With a few searches in the browser, everyone can be (or at least assumes they can be) a ‘Jack of all Trades’. The downside to that title is its latter half: A Master of None. Every good brand deserves to be treated with a certain level of mastery. A deep-rooted knowledge and expertise of what does and doesn’t work for a brand is invaluable. An agency provides you not only with an expert in one single study, but an entire council of branding masters.

Production Manager: The Budget Master. Makes sure your budget is followed as sacred law.

Creative Director: The Aesthetic Master. Guarantees your image isn’t defamed by poor artistic choices or generic “seen-it-before” concepts.

Public Relations Expert: The Message Master. Meditates deeply on your brand and helps you find your voice. Fosters better relationships between you, your brand, and your clients.

II: DEPENDABILITY

In my 5 years as a professional designer, I’ve seen from direct experience that a freelance agent doesn’t always feel the same restrictions to a deadline that an agency might. This certainly isn’t the case often but is indeed a risk. Not to berate anyone on their freelance hustle, but agencies have layers of oversight and process systems in place that your average freelancer doesn’t.

ST8mnt-ProcessWorkflow-All_Page_1

ST8MNT’s Workflow Chart

An agency is like a well-oiled machine (think Optimus Prime) referencing your feedback and the full scope of your brand every step of the way. For an individual, freelance or DIY, it’s much easier for the little details to slip through the cracks and knock your work’s level of professionalism down a tier or ten. Also, as a brand’s needs become more complex and more specialized with new technology platforms.  The lone at-home designer may just not cut it in the near future.

III: EXPERIENCE

Our very own Creative Director Josh Cole’s recent blog post features a quote by Paula Scher that sums up the weight of experience in the branding world. When asked if it’s possible to make a logo in a few seconds, her answer was succinct and honest.  “Yes! A few seconds plus 30 years.” Agencies offer the priceless experience of navigating the marketing battle on all fronts. Something that might take a freelancer a month to research likely may already be a fully understood and brief step in the agency’s bigger process.

IV: TIME

Oh, precious time. We’ve piled timesaving devices onto one another and yet seem to have less and less open spaces on our calendars. The DIY formula fails to take this into account. Even the most talented and proficient designers have taken countless hours to learn best practices in web/print/film, software, and messaging. Often this necessary time is stretched exponentially longer by someone with limited or no expertise and gets in the way of those tight time crunches that are all too familiar in the marketing world. Since time is money, this leads us to the final point:

Wouldn’t a freelancer be cheaper? It might seem so at first glance. However with all the different layers necessary to forming a successful brand, there are few options as robust, consistent, and time effective as an agency. The St8mnt squad is working day and night to ensure that is the case for all our clients/compadres.

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