December 22, 2018

What you put in,

is what you get out

Five steps to selecting a branding partner.


We all, as agencies or consultancies, have a bitter sweet relationship with procurement departments who insist on judging us all on the same merits, apples for apples, rather than look at what best aligns us, or makes us most relevant, for their requirements.

So, as experts in branding, and we all have our approaches, methods and models to go with that expertise, to my mind there are 5 steps procurement departments should adhere to.


These are:

1. Invite agencies to present their credentials before the RFP is floated. This way you get to understand what they really do and their previous experiences. You also get to understand the approach and depth to their work and get a sense of their culture / their people and whether this would align with yours, as a potential client to their services.

2. Use what you learn from these meetings to ensure your RFP or brief addresses what you need as a business. Too often we get briefs that are straight out of a text book and have little bearing on the actual challenge the business is trying to address.

3. Always involve marketing or whomever is responsible for nurturing your brand, preferably allowing them to lead the way, with procurement being the support mechanism for auditing purposes. This ensures that those whom will be ultimately responsible for building and looking after the brand are part of the selection process and not just the recipients of a decision taken by individuals to whom brand is just another aspect of running a business.

4. Don’t be fooled by price vs quality of thinking and output. Don’t place price as the primary factor for decision making, thinking that this will push highly reputable and experienced consultancies to play the price game. This approach too often leads to businesses getting what they pay for, not what the business needs or deserves.

5. Chemistry is a vital ingredient. Being able to quickly connect and bond with the individuals you might be working with for the coming months and in some cases years, is key to the success of the branding project. Who wants to work with people they don’t get along with just because all the boxes were ticked and so they qualified for the job on that basis.

CEOs, CMOs, COOs, we’ve designed a workshop to coach your procurement departments on how to buy ‘branding’ services. If you’re interested email us at and we’ll make it happen for you.

Stefano Ferro

Managing Partner