Traditional, New Media or otherwise, it's quite easy to start an ad agency. All you need is a URL. You may only be one designer. You might be a lone copywriter. Doesn't matter. You can bullshit with the best and the rest of them.
points out in the comments, you also need a client. But remember that logo you did for your little brother when he started his landscaping business? That's a client.)
Let's say your name is Mark Thomas Simpson. Then you can easily be Mark, Thomas, Simpson and Associates. You could also be MT+S. If you don't want to go the vanity route, name your agency after a real word, but misspell the word, bettering your chances that some variation will be available as a URL. Like Creeeightive. Or Adzthatwurck.
Contract with a Flash designer and get him/her to design a site that uses lots of rounded boxes. Make sure the boxes have a bit of shine to them. Random vertical and horizontal lines of varying thicknesses work well also. Black is a good color to go with, as is gray. Splash some pastels in there sparingly and you're good to go. On your logo in the upper left corner, make sure the designer puts a fading reflection under it. When your site is loading, make sure you have a cool status bar that shows the progress. It is best to have sci-fi sound effects while the site is loading. On your navigation bar, weird sci-fi noises work well when items are moused over. Try noises such as "vwwip," "zzhhhhttt" and "boink."
You will need a portfolio page, of course, but don't worry if you have nothing to show. Use stuff you did in school. Or better, just put a friendly message up that says, "Coming soon! We are currently developing this portion of our website and hope to have it ready in the coming weeks. Check back soon."
It is crucial that you call yourself an "Award Winning, Full Service" ad agency. The awards might come later, but if someone calls you on it, show them that Silver Addy from the small regional club's student competition you won in the category where you were the only entrant. As for the "full-service" part, no one needs to know that everything you do will be farmed out to freelancers.
The "About Us" page is very crucial. Talk about how different you are. Talk about "thinking outside the box." Talk about how you seek nothing less than to actually crawl into the heads of your clients and BECOME them, the better to understand them and make them successful. Say something along the lines of "we are only successful when YOU are successful." The following are actual examples taken from agency websites. Say something like these marketers did.
- "We thrive on making connections with our clients and their audience and strive to make engaging, results-driven communications."
- "Our process is simple. We concept unique ideas, execute them properly and show you results that effect you where it counts - the bottom line."
- "We foster a casual environment where thoughts, ideas, and out-of-the-box strategies can incubate and evolve into client success."
If you have cool furniture, it is crucial that you show it off on a "Tour Our Agency" section. Potential clients expect that good work is done in a trendy, quirky environment. If you don't have cool furniture, steal some imagery from the Design Within Reach website. If a client ever wants to visit your cool space, find an excuse why they can't. "We're in the middle of an expansion project and the construction noise here is just unbearable. Let's meet at your place." When you show up, men should wear black. Do not wear a tie. Also, buy some emo glasses, grow a soul patch and consider shaving your head. Women, bizarre color combinations such as purple stockings and yellow running shoes show that you are creative. Emo glasses work well on you also. As do tattoos.
Don't worry that your operation is small. You simply call yourself a "boutique" agency. Your small size also enables you to approach every client in a "hands on" way. You are able to provide "the personal touch and customized service unavailable in large, corporate agencies."
Now you're in business. I wish you much success.
Labels: ad agencies, ad business, new media, starting an ad agency