Hey agency, you don’t have a brand, why should we?

Isn’t it amazing that the very industry that creates brands has very few of its own? Quick quiz: Name a few agencies and what they stand for.

Stumped? So am I.

Why is it that agencies are so miserable at creating their own brands?

A widely held belief is that many agencies provide absolutely every service under the sun in the pursuit of short term revenue growth. After all, why turn down business?

Does this sound familiar?

“Agency X is a full service, integrated advertising and communications firm, specializing in traditional and new media and above and below the line marketing.”

No wonder many agencies’ markets are defined by their physical geography. After all, why would any potential client go out of its way to do business with an agency outside its area code that sounds like all the others in its own area? And worse yet, by saying they do everything, these agencies can’t possibly be perceived as being experts in anything.

The best analogy I ever heard for this scenario is for doctors. The more expertise you have, the broader your reach. After all, no one travels from out of market to see a GP. But a reknowned brain surgeon will attract patients from all over the world.

Agencies that want to make their mark in the world need to stop telling us what they do and start saying what they don’t do. By becoming more specialized, they’ll attract more business from outside of their local pool, their clients will be more loyal and, in the long run, they’ll make more money. And they just may build a brand in the process.

Anyhow, it’s a good lesson for any business. When you do and stand for everything, you stand for nothing.