8 Key differences between an advertising agency and a brand agency

f&b branding marketing agency in Singapore

We are in an ever-evolving marketplace, and it is not just the business that’s evolving- the consumer is as well. The entire process that a buyer goes through before deciding has changed.

Gone are the days when all it took to woo a consumer was a bunch of advertisements in magazines or on the TV. With today’s ‘social’ economy, a consumer depends more on channels such as social media and his/her peer network, and not on commercial advertisements.

Does that mean advertising and advertising agencies are not of use anymore? Not really- but they too have evolved with the times. We are now in an era where building a brand is of greater importance than just advertising. This is where a brand agency comes in.

Let’s try to understand the difference between these 2 agencies, and what each has to offer.

1. Strategical v/s tactical

Any advertising is merely tactical, while the actions taken by a brand agency would be strategic. The brief that an advertising agency gives you will be the most strategic action. This covers what advertising will contain and the segments it caters too, but nothing beyond that. How will you have personnel on-boarded to your brand, does someone like the sales assistant or delivery driver understand their role in the process, etc. This is all that a brand consultant helps to develop.

Brand agencies help to create a blueprint of the brand, which comprehensively covers the strategy. This 360-degree approach takes care of every aspect of the brand, right from the copy used to its customer-facing roles, retention of customers and so on.

2. Advertising agencies have one focus- advertising

Advertising agencies have this sole purpose- and some are very good at advertising. However, unless you run a business that has a lot of funds to dedicate to coming up with new advertising campaigns all the time, it is not going to do you much good. A brand consultant helps to analyze the business, its industry, the systems, and other parts to charter the path forward. Advertising would just be one part of the solution, which would include improvements in sales, R&D, production, operations, customer service, and retention.

3. With advertising agencies, you’re in the hands of the creative director

Advertising agencies employ creative talent who have experience in the industry. However, when it is not available, the brand’s image can be at risk with substandard people working for it. However, with branding agencies, the entire organization is involved. With C-level involvement, the strategy stays in the hands of the executive management to deliver the best results.

4. Advertising agency success depends on creativity, and not on sales/profitability generation

The awards given to advertising agencies are just for creativity and concepts. The sales or profits that it helped a brand generate is not considered for such awards. On the other hand, brand consultants do not have any awards. This lets them focus on increasing profitability and increasing sales, which is their only metric.

5. Advertising is only about customer retention, while brand consultants work to acquire and retain

Brand agencies are not merely focused on gaining new customers. Their approach involves the retention of existing and new customers as well. This helps in building a sustainable sales channel for the brand.

6. Traditional marketing methodologies lead to wastage

A lot of advertising is often focused on customers that either are not interested or do not afford the product. Entire campaigns run by brands often go to waste, and this is a common occurrence in many industries. As per a Harvard Business Review report in the UK, 72% of CEOs voiced that they have been asked for funds from the marketing departments without any explanation of how it would benefit the business. Further, it also talked about how they heard about ‘brand equity’ that did not have any connection to real equity. On the other hand, strategies used by brand consultants help to focus on the right customer base and have metrics that can be utilized.

7. Advertising agencies use the one-size-fits-all approach

On the other hand, a brand agency gathers and makes use of specific data to focus on communication on digital media. This helps to engage prospective customers while keeping in touch with the existing base.

8. Copying the competitor v/s using a competitive advantage

Advertising agencies often study a competitor and make use of somewhat similar strategies. However, with brand agencies, they use the knowledge of a competitor’s strategy to simply strengthen the brand’s competitive advantage. Brand consultants do not let that define the strategy of their client.

Thus, with these differences, it would be easy for you to understand what you stand to gain with a brand agency. While working with an advertising agency has its uses, it does not provide a brand with the complete strategy that it needs to excel. Hiring the right brand consultant can do just that and a lot more for your business!