On Selecting an Ad Agency... Clients Talk
Posted on 2016 Oct,24

What main criteria do generally clients rely on when selecting an ad agency to handle their brand? Does agency's culture play a determining factor in their choice?We asked some of the most active players and big spenders in the Lebanese market. Here's what they answered.


Marwan Hayek, Chairman and CEO Alfa:

-  Creativity and reputation through a well-established portfolio, successful campaigns and international affiliation;
-  Knowledge and experience with same industry accounts, such as Telco in our case;
-  Flexibility and ability to work with very demanding clients while mobilising top resources;
-  Ability to question themselves, as they will be working for a very challenging and fast pace technological environment; Last but not least, to share the same culture as without it, no synergy could happen to facilitate the above.


Dania Kassar, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Fransabank: 

When selecting a communication agency, the company or the organisation has to look at a variety of criteria where professionalism, creativity and others are major factors, which will contribute in the decision making process, thus enable the decision makers to be confident their brand is in good hands.
Our understanding, however, is that the report focuses on the culture of an institution.
Indeed, the corporate culture of an agency is a determining factor in the decision making process, since one can hardly communicate properly about something he does not believe in or cannot relate to. Words and concepts differ from one culture to the other, how can one communicate on an identity if he does not identify to it?
Actually, it is common sense to work with people who have same culture as you; and most probably, alliances between businesses and communication agencies are done intuitively, taking into account the same culture and values, without being able to pinpoint that fact as evidence. What we commonly refer to in Arabic as: ارتحنالون‫!‬


Nada C. Tawil, Head of Group Communication Department, Byblos Bank:

Corporate Culture is critical, in as far as it encompasses shared values with us and with our brand; it is certainly a key determining factor in the selection of any partner for our business (not only the agency). When the values are aligned, we can work out various minor details to make the partnership work and yield the desired results. Thus, other factors, which are important can be optimised for a more rewarding relationship and for better output.

Desiree El Khoury, Sales & Marketing Manager Chateau Musar:

The most important is to choose a real “Partner”! Experts to help us set our goals with the best creative and PR ideas. We want to make sure that all used mediums will support the business objectives that we want to achieve to grow.




Isabelle Naoum, Head of Communications Department, BLOM Bank:

Entering into partnership with an advertising agency is a crucial consideration in the brand image of any successful business. Therefore, we, at BLOM BANK, believe that one of the main factors of success is getting the right people and bonding with an advertising agency that is aligned with the Bank’s vision, mission and culture. 
Any company searching for favourable outcomes has to take below criteria into consideration when patterning up with an advertising agency:
-  Corporate Culture: synergy between the corporate culture of both parties is essential, since the advertising agency acts as a communicator of the company and is therefore responsible for transmitting its values, messages and thinking to the community at large through advertising. This transmission has to be backed up with utmost transparency, honesty, trust and ethics.
-  Market Reputation: We believe that the portfolio of the agency, its professionalism and market knowledge are determining factors, since a successful business needs to partner with the best to ensure its brand equity is well nurtured. 
-  Innovation:  Any company striving to constantly improve its processes and services/products offered to stakeholders in a competitive market, has to team up with a creative agency that stays up to date with the latest technologies, trends and directions. 


Amanda Hajjar, Senior Marketing Manager Sakr Real Estate

The advertising world has changed drastically since the 1960s and it not anymore the MADMEN world but rather the MADTIME era.
Naturally, ideas are still the main groundwork of the creative, but other key factors are also essential in developing the client/agency relationship, seeking to build long term partnership.
Unlike small local companies who rely on their internal departments to do their job, we truly believed that hiring a reputable agency is an inevitable step in our growth path.
This is why, when we were in the hunt of finding the perfect agency a while ago, we asked ourselves couple of questions to be able to make the perfect choice.
Do we want a big or a small agency?
What kind of talents do we want?
We had a shout out that we were hunting and we laid down our options.
We assessed the people in the room, their profile, their work, their ability to react under pressure and to deliver in utmost difficult circumstances.
We looked into the culture of these agencies and not their brand names only.
We needed a multinational education but with a local adaptation as well.
We needed people who could react quickly and respond to the ongoing market trends.
And because we couldn’t find all of the above in one agency; and we believed that each of our project is worth having a different parent, we split the work between two reputable agencies who will be definitely delivering the best quality.