I Want Someone That Gets Me

When people ask me how we compare to the competition, I answer—we have no competition.

Am I ignorant or arrogant you ask? Neither. The answer is that there is no other Blue Daring (with a Melissa or a Vanessa, with our unique experiences and DNA, etc), so when I say there is no competition, it’s a fact.

That said, when it comes to selecting a branding or communications partner, I firmly believe that it’s never about which is the best firm–because there is no such thing. There is only who is the best firm for your company and your goals.  There are thousands of communication and marketing services firms who can develop messaging, design an ad, rebrand a business, design a website or a piece of creative.  And while there are most definitely varying degrees of expertise, talent and capacity, when you get down to the cream of the crop, you will find that “on paper” the top companies won’t contrast much in what they can bring to the table. That being said, how do you, as a client, make the right choice?

“It’s never about which is the best firm–
because there is no such thing.”

The answer is that there is no absolutely surefire way to do so. As much as we base professional decisions on the premise that past performance is an indication of future results, it isn’t.  Each instance of a company, a firm and a project coming together is a unique combination of variables and opportunities. Once you find a few firms that can “basically” meet your needs—meaning experience, capacity and talent—picking “the right fit” comes down to things you’ll never see in a proposal.


Do they share your values?  If you are in an industry drenched in regulation, wear a suit to work every day and follow strict processes, you are probably not going to get along with a bunch of 20-year-old hipsters who don’t produce reports because “it’s so yesterday.”  Now I realize that can be tough because sometimes the job calls for a creative partner with “a new way of thinking” or “a young voice”, but that can never replace cultural alignment. When evaluating a marketing services partner ask: What time do they get into the office?  For what and how do they reward their employees?  Are they process or people-oriented?  Visit their office.  Do you feel comfortable there?


Do they talk your talk?  Now there are two aspects to this.  First is that you want a partner that you don’t have to clarify every single acronym to. Now I say this with a grain of salt because I really believe that depending on the type of work, a partner doesn’t have to be immersed in your industry to do the job (unless you are in healthcare or finance and the job involves strategy or media relations). Simply put your partner should have done their homework and or know and show an interest in the terminology germane to you.  The other side of the coin has nothing to do with industry… but simply school of thought. If you talk in “strategic goals, action plans, GAP analyses” and the like, you will likely be unhappy with a marketing partner whose vocabulary is entirely comprised of “PMS colors and IAB-standard ad sizes”.


Do you get along with the people who will be serving you?  While American business culture generally puts goals before people, it is human connection that makes business partnerships successful (or makes them fail). We have had what seemed to be fantastic client partnerships that were eroded or cut short by a clash of personalities.  And no one is to blame, there was just bad chemistry.  That said, I think sharing a cup of coffee, drinks or lunch should be part of a company’s selection process. If you can’t enjoy having a conversation or sharing a meal with the people you are supposed to depend on and invest in, chances are you will not enjoy your work or worse yet it will be sabotaged by human frailty.


What can you learn from this company?  As a steward for your company’s money, you should not only look for getting the job done, but adding value beyond the scope of work. That said, while it’s nice to have someone who is deeply immersed in your industry, it’s diversity of thought that creates great ideas, not paying someone to tell you what you already know.  Whether it be an innovative process they use, a new network and contacts they are tied into or good energy that positively ignites your staff, look for a partner that can help you and your company grow, beyond the project.

“As a steward for your company’s money,
you should not only look for getting the job done,
but adding value beyond the scope of work.”

At Blue Daring our culture is about working hard and enjoying the work.  We have touched dozens of industries and keep up with best practices, but never waste time on trendy jargon.  We are open, diverse and passionate and make a point to bring value outside of what we’re hired to do.

Let this post serve as a “wanted ad” for visionary companies who love doing the same.



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