The Big Question: Inhouse Vs Agencies

Our recent  showed us who they viewed as the top brands to work for and why, providing us with great insight into digital industry employment trends.…


Our recent  showed us who they viewed as the top brands to work for and why, providing us with great insight into digital industry employment trends.

Aside from which specific companies came out on top, another surprising fact came through in the data – the lack of agencies ranking highly.

In fact, an agency doesn’t make an appearance in the list until you reach 34 with Us Two, and then  40 with R/GA and AKQA not far behind at 43 in the results.

Brand familiarity trumps all… marketing 

A very simple answer could be that brand familiarity is a leading factor for people putting forward their company choices.

Number one ranking Google and Apple (2nd) are ubiquitous brands that people use regularly.  Surely this brand exposure has resulted in people naming the in-house brands as the companies they would like to work for. In other words, you’re more likely to name Google and Apple as preferred employees.

Agencies: Tough places to work?

255 of the survey participants stated that the reason for their choice was perceived flexible working/ work-life balance. Agencies are sometimes viewed as “full-on” workplaces with long and late hours to meet client deadlines and stakeholder expectations.

Agencies appear to be incorporating some aspects of client-side working culture to make them more appealing. Global consultancy R3’s founder Greg Paull says “In our on-site financial audits, we’re consistently seeing evidence of overwork in agencies, up to as much as 60 percent above billable hours.”

Along with flexitime, the company also offer their employees 36% more holidays than is legally required making working at Wire all the more attractive.

In contrast, Google’s work-life balance is an extremely attractive aspect for many, particularly undergrads. This paired with its fun, laidback working environment make Google a standout brand.

The cool factor

Over the last 10 years, Google and Apple have been heavily cited as ‘cool places’ to work with a fun working environment designed to encourage employee satisfaction and creativity.

Many agencies have a similar ‘cool factor’, these are just not as widely reported on. One of these agencies was R/GA (who ranked at 40 and were the 2nd agency to feature in the top 50).

R/GA’s slick New York “office space” is a haven of white and a distinct lack of walls. Conference “rooms” are more accurately wall-less area giving a striking feeling of space. R/GA’s aim is for a “fluid, versatile and connected environment” making it an almost painfully cool place to work.

Strengthening an agency brand

So how can agencies strengthen their own brand and become more identifiable as some of the big client-side companies?

It may be trite to say but a strong and innovative marketing campaign can help raise brand awareness. This combined with reaching out to industries outside of an agency’s remit also further increases a brand’s exposure and to new audiences.

Elite SEM’s CEO Ben Kirshner firmly believes that a digital marketing agency’s key to success is to “have a people-focused culture”. SEM is structured in such a way that every employee owns a piece of the business, similar to the John Lewis’ employee ownership.

This well-known employ benefit potentially had a great deal of influence when people named John Lewis as a brand they’d like to work for (John Lewis placed at 13 on the survey.).

A brand that demonstrates a level of care and interest of employees adds greatly to its appeal to employees. From shares in the company down to little things such as free coffee, all go towards reinforcing a positive bigger impacting brand identity.

Another essential way to strengthen an agency brand is through global prospects. Even small agencies are setting up networks with the potential of working abroad, particularly in London, Berlin, Hong Kong and Singapore (which is experiencing a surge in digital).

Expanding a brand’s international horizons takes its identity into new territories and audiences. Advertising company Anomaly are an international agency with offices in LA, NYC, Toronto, London, Amsterdam and Shanghai.

Since it started in 2004 Anomaly have differentiated themselves by blurring the lines between traditional provision of market services and working as a business development partner. With offices across the globe their international approach clearly works well for them seeing them win 2017 Agency of The Year.

By connecting you to the best people with the skills essential to your company’s evolution, Cogs literally has a world of contacts across the globe making them your first destination on the (continued) road of success.

Get in touch with one of our consultants today.

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