“Our job is to be loud and to amplify your story in all of the ways we know how”. Founded in 2009, The Agency offers Strategic Communications, Marketing and PR for organizations in several industries.
In this interview for Website Planet
, Arleigh Vasconcellos (Founder and Managing Director) presented The Agency for us, talked about trends in website creation and social media and how to deliver great messages to your audience.
Please present The Agency to our audience
The Agency is a strategic communications firm. We focus on delivering end-to-end campaigns for our clients in both marketing and public relations. We execute on all types of tactics from social media to writing whitepapers, to media relations to crisis communications.
I founded The Agency in 2009 and we focus on the innovation sector. Loosely, that means people doing things differently, either in the Technology or Business-to-Business (B2B) sectors that are revolutionizing the way they approach their industry and making things possible: delivering products and services that are changing the way companies operate and do business.
Are there challenges in speaking to innovators in comparison with people from other more traditional sectors?
Yes, absolutely. Obviously, we love working with startup companies because they are doing incredible things that have the potential to change the world. So, many of the companies we work with are doing amazing things in the environmental, manufacturing, and the financial sectors. It’s very rewarding to work with these kinds of clients.
We work across a variety of sectors, from agriculture to government to SaaS businesses. But they struggle to tell their story – and that’s where we come in. It can be very challenging to get through the jargon and buzzwords, and really get into the core of what they want to tell the world. Our job is to help them do that and tell it to the right people.
Often, especially with startup founders and companies scaling rapidly, we find that they are so passionate about their work they want to share every last detail with the customers they are trying to attract.
So, we work with them to help them create the meaningful story that will resonate with their audiences. It’s about flipping the message and saying: “I live and breathe my product but for my customers and prospects I need to tell them how I am going to solve their problems”. A lot of startups are excited to talk about the technology they’ve built and forget to tell their audience how they are helping them grow their business.
What are the strategies and vehicles that you use to get the message out?
The vehicles are simply the tactics. These are the collateral or platforms we use to push key messages and campaigns out to a targeted audience. But first, it’s important to map out the strategy for a campaign. Which is why we are a strategic communications firm.
Why do we call ourselves a strategic communications firm? Because, at the end of the day, our goal with clients is to help them tell the right story to the right people on the right channels. If you truly listen to the target audience you want to get in front of, they will tell you how they want you to communicate with them and when.
Companies in general make the mistake of talking at their target audiences. Instead of listening to them. For instance, listening to your target audience may result in understanding that they don’t want to be bombarded with daily posts on LinkedIn, but that they do value webinars. So when you build your next LinkedIn campaign, use it to promote an educational webinar for your prospects.
When companies are able to listen to their target audience, the tactics will reveal themselves – be it building a consistent profile on social media, hosting a webinar, or speaking at a conference.
One sentence in your website caught my attention: “we believe in traditional business principles of building lasting relationships”. What are those principles?
To me, the core of traditional business principles is relationship-building. It means knowing when to pick up the phone and call someone instead of sending an email. It means knowing when to say “let’s get together for a coffee” instead of having a structured meeting in a boardroom.
Being authentic and working alongside our clients as a true partner is how we form relationships that are based on trust and mutual respect.
What are the first steps you take when a company reaches you? What do you want your customers to do?
The first step is always a conversation with one of our senior leaders. Our niche is innovation, so it’s about trying to find the right fit and we’re really honest about where our specialty lies and where we can help. If we have a prospect that comes to us and is not a right fit for us that’s ok. For us, the value comes from them understanding what they are trying to achieve and referring them to one of the other great agencies or partners we know who can help.
If it’s something we can help with after that initial conversation, we build a strategy based on the client’s goals and objectives. We focus on planning campaigns to meet the goals and help them stay on track to achieve them. That is a crucial step in our onboarding process. From there, we build the tactical plan.
What interesting trends do you observe in website creation and social media?
I’ll start with the web development side. In the last number of years, websites have evolved but also have become more standardized, following rules for readability, button placement and access to information. It is important to ensure you are remaining updated with improvements to website accessibility trends. Also, it’s crucial that websites are clear and provide information and visuals as concisely as possible – it’s hard, but try not to clutter your website with long paragraphs and complex diagrams.
On the social media side, it’s really a question of asking yourself what is your strategy? The digital world is full of noise. It’s also full of opportunities and maintaining relevance is all about knowing when and where your customers want to hear from you. In today’s world it is really about using social media platforms to have conversations with your audience and not to talk at them.
Also, thinking: you don’t have to be everything to everyone nor be on every single platform, especially in our B2B world. Over the last 13 years, social media platforms have come and gone, risen and declined in popularity many times. It’s important to remember this when putting your social strategy together.
Frequently I ask our clients to think about where their customers go to get information about them? If you are a business-based brand, chances are they are not looking for you on TikTok. They may have TikTok, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear from you there. If they are in a business frame of mind, they want to hear from you on a business focused platform, like LinkedIn. Maybe Twitter.
What are The Agency’s plans for the next 3 to 5 years?
We’ve just come through two years of exponential growth, going from a team of five to a team of ten. Like so many of the startups and scaleups we service, we are in our messy middle right now, continuing to grow and understanding how to navigate this in a strategic and pragmatic way.
We’re continuing to grow, but at a more manageable rate, so we do not lose what makes us different and gives us our competitive edge. We are figuring out how to progress our vision to support innovators and tell their stories to the right people, at the right places, at the right time, but still delivering the highest quality work to our clients.