Bad brand aesthetics can cost you 52% of your consumers. You stand to gain market share and much more from having professional creative experts by your side. Creative agencies, if chosen wisely, can transform your ideas into something phenomenal. Are you struggling to find the perfect partner for this undertaking? Take a look at our top picks in the industry. Our personalized methodology is carefully designed to serve as a guide and assist you in making the right choice. Since you’re here, scroll down and check out some more tips to help you find the spark of genius for your products.
We used a professionally developed set of criteria to rank the top agencies in the creative industry. We started by collecting data about each company with an emphasis on the average size of their campaigns. We then proceeded towards reviewing their commitment to delivering the best value to their clients, especially in regard to the experts involved in this process. We studied creativity, innovation, technology and of course advertising as the fuel that powers the engine of creative agencies.
Making a clear cut distinction among the many agencies out there is not easy. To simplify the matter, we have narrowed it down to four categories.
The first category is strategy which is all about the services offered in consulting, planning and R&D. Design covers visuals, such as UX, photography and video services. Technology represents the engineering part or the technical expertise of creative companies. And finally, advertising encompasses marketing, PR campaigns, and promotions. A full-service creative agency would offer all of the above. But here’s the catch — for you as a potential client the whole package does not always mean the best service. An agency specializing in one or two of these, is more often than not, the smarter choice.
Check out our classification of the different types of creative agencies and learn more about their services. Bear in mind that the ranking of the agencies is not affected by this classification.
Partnering up with a full-service vendor means you get the whole package. This kind of creative marketing agency will handle everything for you. Consulting, branding, UX, web design, marketing research, you name it.
A full-service digital agency is knowledgeable in many disciplines and has a more integrated approach. In our ranking, those are the ultra all-inclusive deal. The upside is that they are good at handling complex projects and large campaigns. A bonus upside is that you don’t have to worry about different creative services firms having access to your project.
The purpose of this type of agency is to meet the fast-changing marketing demands of the digital age. Creative, strategic and technical development are at the core of what these agencies do.
Digital creative agencies can provide an excellent symbiosis of growth strategy and analytics on the one hand, and digital design and brand intelligence on the other. Unlike full-service digital agencies, a digital creative agency has a different endgame in mind-building relationships that last, while usually scrapping the advertising part. A subcategory of the digital creative agency is the Product Agency. A product agency blends digital technology and online marketing to deliver state-of-the-art customer experience.
These creative companies are a mix of strategy and design. They are the playground where creativity and intelligence have fun. Such agencies can have a focus, for example, there are specialized logo designing companies, as well as packaging design companies.
It’s worth noting that since they cannot provide all the services, design agencies usually work with external partners.
A lot of the fantastic video and motion design projects available on the internet have been done by interactive design agencies. Our list includes those that will not only build you the website of your dreams but will create an excellent digital experience to engage consumers with your product. These creative companies will gear you up with innovative design and multimedia content because they understand the consumer. For demanding projects or campaigns, interactive design agencies usually arrange partnerships with a creative advertising company.
As you might guess, advertising and strategy are at the heart of these agencies. Their superiority lies in their mastering of the marketing and promotion components. The firms in our list will tailor the advertising and marketing plan of your dreams and deliver the promotion you desire for your product and brand. Note that some of the creative advertising agencies on our list have landed the most revolutionary PR campaigns. That said, there are also specialized PR companies that focus on reputation management, public affairs, etc.
An engineering agency brings innovation to the table. They are the software builders and the data scientists behind your product. Is your current methodology not delivering the results you wish to see? Hire an engineering agency. They are the tech-savvies of the creative world that can resolve complex issues and direct you to the area that needs spicing up. Should you choose to hire one of the best creative agencies we’ve singled out, be prepared to amaze your clients with a refreshing mindset, agile development, and exquisite digital engineering.
Consulting, planning and research services. A typical consulting agency will center on choosing the best strategy by conducting in-depth market analysis. They are the R&D professionals and the gurus of landing big ideas. As research is their specialty, it should come as no surprise that consulting agencies employ medical doctors and even civil servants to bring about plans tailored to satisfy the ever-changing market context. On the flip side, they offer a somewhat narrow list of creative services and in most cases partner up with web development companies to cover all the aspects of a creative advertising agency.
In a world of digital chaos, a design innovation agency helps you eliminate what is unnecessary and focus on what adds the most value to your product. The goal of these agencies is to bring innovation to the digital, to invent a product that will amplify the human experience. They are all about simple-to-use interfaces, and usually focus on strategy and design.
Taking a sneak peek at some of the websites of the top creative companies is simply not enough to make a thorough assessment of their overall performance. Our methodology demands we also inspect as man case studies and portfolio sections as we can get our hands on. That’s why we explored previous projects, demonstrated results and the performance history to select the crème de la crème.
The first thing we considered was how easily understandable and attractive their portfolios and case studies were. We continued by revising the start and due dates of past projects. After all, making it in the top creative agencies in the US, or in the world for that matter, means having impeccable project delivery rates.
We also considered the client’s initial guidelines — whether their expectations for the product/service were established early on and how the outcome matched them.
We further tackled some vital elements such as the thought process or the considerations the agency put into the project design. This included the initial plan, inspiration and any alterations. And finally, we searched at what makes a creative agency unique or revolutionary. Or better yet, the trick or trade secret that makes them stand out in the ocean of creative agency websites.
Past client reviews can unveil many hidden truths. A good review often includes details on the agency’s staff, client-agency communication, level of customer satisfaction, etc. Reviews and ratings are where we uncover the agency’s approach to resolving conflicts. If the company meets our strict criteria, they secure a spot on our list. Bear in mind that we did not just consider the reviews and ratings posted on the websites of the creative services agencies but dug deeper.
In dissecting the services and specialties, we based our evaluation on the respective subjects of study of each agency. We looked at the list of services they offer and whether or not they are backed by competent professionals in the selected areas of expertise. As we have already discussed, many proclaim to be experts in multiple niches but only a handful truly are the best creative agencies in the world.
Our quest also took us to evaluations from internal and external stakeholders. For this part, we did a rigorous search through social media accounts, career websites, and directories. The opinions of previous collaborators, former staff included, hold the power to build or crush a company’s reputation. We immediately dismissed the companies that showed poor performances in this area.
Having done this, we continued by analyzing the depth of experience offered. We looked at the inner workings and conflict resolution rates among the creative marketing firms that had made the cut so far. In doing this, we shortened the list by removing those with recurring problems or worse, unresolved conflicts.
The team of the agency is the glue that keeps the project from falling apart. Beyond the personal, into the professional, diversity is what we looked at in evaluating team culture. A creative agency services team that consists solely of engineers and no staff to deliver the communications part, will ultimately be a failed investment.
Or will it?
One could argue that the best agencies have big teams that cover all areas of expertise. This is partially correct. As it turns out, in many cases the in-house staff who are the perfect fit for the job might not be available. To resolve this, the firm relies on freelancers or on-call creators. A team that is willing to play the game to deliver top creative agency services definitely makes the cut.
By definition, project management starts when the client expresses their intention to work with you. How the company handles the work from that point on, depends on many factors. Our research dictated that we inspect the initial plan created and the changes it underwent throughout the distribution process. We prioritized creative agencies that made the necessary alterations but did not entirely desert the initial plan. The fact is, with the daily shifts in the advertising world, initial project plans will inevitably be subjected to change.
In a world of communications, however, it is simply unacceptable for the client to be left uninformed. Poor project reporting is a hazard no high-ranking agency can afford. In evaluating both internal and external communications of creative firms we took a closer look at their customer support team and reporting frequency and eliminated the entities that did not meet our standards.
We also considered the research process behind every project. To be declared master of creativity and innovation a company must implement the absolute best research process. This covers everything from idea to creation and innovation, branding to web design, touchpoints to managing assets and finally the product launch. The names we have placed on our list of creative agencies will go beyond to predict possible issues, resolve conflicting requirements and overcome challenges. A top creative agency will advance your market position by observing your product’s progress.
Numbers never lie. And if done right, neither should metrics. Most agencies have established metrics based on KPIs that they follow. The best of them have walked the extra mile and created customized measuring systems. But how do you know if they are measuring the correct values? To help you with this, we have picked out some used by the top creative agencies in the world:
Metrics are all about choosing the right formula to measure real results. Bottom line is, competent strategy creators know which KPIs to use to give life to your campaign. Any creative outfit can promise you the world but only the best creative agencies will dare to tell you upfront where you might fail and where you will surely win.
This is where the true artistry of a creative agency comes to light. Whether it’s a strong logo, striking headlines or eye-popping colors, this is the department where the agencies demonstrate their awesomeness.
This bit of our research led us to reviewing the innovation and creativity behind past projects. To select the best we prioritized the creative teams that showed boldness, individuality, and authenticity. They are the brilliant minds contributing to your added value, accumulating equity and everlasting designs. Our list of top creative agencies only has room for the those that managed to exceed the client’s expectations in setting their idea free.
Hiring a champion comes at a price. The first factor to consider here is the company’s size. Then you tackle the types of services they offer and whether the selected vendor can facilitate all of them or needs to engage additional resources. Last but not least, don’t just throw your money at them. Make sure you are well informed about the agency’s creative approach to your idea/product/service.
Creative agencies charge an average of $5,000 to over $25,000 depending on the size of the project. In choosing the best in the industry we did not just pick the most expensive ones. Instead, we focused on those that offer the best value for money.
In selecting the best agencies of the creative industry, our team of researchers did not just explore but also picked up a few things along the way. For the grand finale, we give you some helpful tips on how to choose the best creative partner for your project.
First impressions do matter. Presenting your company in an organized manner, with clearly set goals is the key to establishing a strong partnership. So take a deep dive, assess your vision for your business and create a straightforward concept to present to any creative consulting firms you will meet with.
Focus on finding a creative agency with relevant expertise in your line of work. In other words, a product or service is meant to be shared with consumers. It is up to you as its creator to find the professionals that will attach a new dimension to it. Shared perspective is a vital part of the process of finding the best ally among the many creative agencies out there.
Today’s consumers don’t just buy a product or a service. They buy the brand, the story, and the heritage behind it. Only a creative firm with a deep understanding of consumers can conjure the identity you need for your product to be experienced for years to come. Make sure you partner up with one that teaches culture both in-house and to the world, and whose values align with those you promote within your own team.
This part is where you set your priorities straight. Set up the budget and see what you can afford. The creative agencies on our list include both low-cost and expensive options. If you find that a high-cost creative agency is the real deal for you, but your budget says otherwise, don’t stress out. Do one project at a time. Think of it as building a puzzle — your product’s identity being the big picture.