How to Brand Your Agency and Differentiate from the Competition

By Jason Swenk on January 29, 2020

Are you struggling to make your agency stand out? It could be a branding issue. Knowing your brand and owning it can make a big difference when it comes to getting your prospects’ attention. In a world saturated by digital marketing agencies, the last thing you want to be is another “me too” agency. So here’s advice on the best ways to differentiate your agency from the competition.

In today’s episode we’ll cover:

  • 2 reasons it’s important to find your agency’s niche.
  • How to understand what it means to brand your agency.
  • #1 Way to differentiate your agency from everyone else.

Today I sat down with Scott Markman, Founder and President of Monogram Group. Monogram Group is a branding agency, dealing almost exclusively with private equity clients. As a branding agency, Scott has spent the past 30 years finding his niche, developing a brand, and becoming an expert in his field. But recently, Scott’s firm hired a digital agency to help with their own brand. In this episode, we’ll talk about why you have to know your agency’s brand and how defining a niche can get you there.

2 Reasons It’s Important to Find Your Agency’s Niche

Lately, it seems like anyone who knows anything about a computer can start an agency. Because there are so many agencies, it’s tempting to offer everything to everyone. The logic is, the more I offer, the more clients have to choose from. But agencies who take this approach quickly find out being a generalist isn’t really the best approach. Why? Because clients want someone who knows the nuances of their specific industry.

Scott started his agency as a generalist — part out of boredom, part out of a desire to learn something new. But while the work was challenging, he quickly learned private equity was where he needed to be. There are two main reasons why finding your niche is important:

  1. Being a generalist will quickly eat away at profits. Sure it’s fun to challenge yourself and learn new things, but doing so every time you bring on a new client takes time. You’ll learn you’re investing too much time learning about the product when should be focusing on what you can deliver. Do this too much and you will end up losing more than what you are making. When you have a niche, you save time because you don’t have to take the extra step of researching the product or the market.
  2. Clients want someone who knows what they are talking about. Scott says he is able to close 65-75% of all the proposals he pitches. Why? Because clients are confident that he knows what he is talking about. Think about it. When you speak the industry language, understand the challenges and pain points of your clients’ clients you are more valuable than someone who has to research those things.

How to Determine Your Agency’s Brand

Many agency owners think they know their brand, but really they have no idea. When we talk about branding, we’re talking about the feeling clients get or associate with your agency. When you are developing your brand, there are a few questions you want to be able to answer:

  • Why do I exist? What can I provide to potential clients?
  • Where can I play strong? What’s the market for my services?
  • How can I make clients feel they wish they had found me sooner?

Scott says 85% of what you say is going to be the same as everyone else. The key is to not stop there. The other 15% is your brand. Recognize what makes you valuable, carve out a space for yourself and own it.

#1 Way to Differentiate Your Agency from the Others

Back to the question we started with at the beginning: “How do I stand out from the crowd?” The answer is brand, brand, brand. What is it that runs in your DNA? What are you passionate about? What do you know better than anyone else? The number one way to separate your agency from “me too” agencies is to know your brand and make it approachable to a variety of audiences. Remember, your niche is who you will market your services to, but it doesn’t have to stop there. When you know who you are, clients will search you out. The key is to find the one thing you can offer better than anyone else can.

Branding is so important for attracting clients and earning their respect. Your clients can’t know who you are if you don’t. Carve out your space, master your craft, and share it with the world.

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