What to Expect When You Hire a Full-Service Agency

The decision to hire a full-service agency isn’t always an easy one. There are a lot of factors that go into this decision: Which agency is the right fit? Do you only want to use some of an agency’s services? Or all of them? What if you don’t like the work produced by the agency? Will you have to start all over? Hiring an agency can be quite a tiresome process, and hiring the right agency for you can be even more difficult. So, to make it a little easier on you, our boss lady, creative director and director of public relations have shared what to expect when you hire The James Agency. Have any additional questions? Reach out to us on social or send a note to info@thejamesagency.com!

Veronique James, Boss Lady

An Honest Opinion

You can count on getting our open and honest opinion and recommendations in everything we do. We aren’t here to tell you what you want to hear just to make you happy. After all, you’re paying for our expertise, and we want you to get your money’s worth. We only take on a few new Clients each year. In order for us to have the impact on your business that we want to have—and you deserve to receive—we need to really dig into your situation.

Big Thinking without Boundaries

We don’t limit our ideas to the conventional boundaries of financial services marketing and branding. Instead, we develop big ideas that are on-strategy, and we’re agnostic toward the media and channels they use. Please don’t be surprised when we present you with ideas that are completely unconventional.

Cracking the Whip

You expect us to complete the work on-time, on-budget and on-scope…and to create a product of unmatched quality. In most cases, you play a role in the work. That’s why sometimes we have to crack the whip to keep the project on track and focused. Don’t be surprised or offended if we firmly manage you. It’s part of what you’re paying for. Timely delivery of information to us. Prompt payment of our invoices. Punctuality in meetings. We’re doing important work together, and we need your support and respect in that.


If we make a mistake—which happens now and then—we will be up-front about it with you. We reserve the right to get smarter during our work together. Sometimes you may need to lighten up a bit. Our work together needs to be fun or the quality will suffer and the experience will be miserable.

Shane Tang, Creative Director

You will be challenged.

Expect to be asked to try new concepts, ideas and processes you may not be familiar with or have been willing to do in the past. If you are not open to trying a new approach you need to ask yourself if you are ready to hire an agency.

You will be asked questions. Lots of questions.

Be prepared to answer any and all questions about your business, what your vision is, what your goals are, etc. You are the expert and we need to learn all we can to effectively make your vision a reality. If you don’t have a goal in mind, take a step back and figure that out, then utilize an agency to help you achieve that goal. In some cases an agency can help you find your goal based on a pattern of challenges, wins, holes, etc. This is where a creative brief questionnaire comes into play. It’s kind of like homework based on your business and forces you to look at yourself/your business in a different way. If an agency is not asking questions they are not doing their job.

You [the client] will set the pace.

Deadlines, approvals and responses are key to moving an agency forward on your projects. If you are not available or don’t take these seriously don’t expect your agency to either. We are here to help, make you better at what you do, and make you more money / ROI / recognition, etc. Ask yourself “how am I with deadlines?”

Be clear on your expectations.

Do you want your agency to follow your lead,  or are you looking for an agency to come in and produce concepts based on your vision and goals? There will be collaboration, but it will vary depending on your goals and present place in the market. How do you like to work with others? The answer to this question will help you find the right agency for your personality and work habits.

Focus on what you do best.

You are here because you are an expert at what you do. The agency is here to take you to another level based on what they do best. That being said, how much of the marketing responsibilities are you willing to hand over to your agency? What is your expectation on the communication of the agency? Are you more hands on, or do you like to let the professionals take it and run with it [while keeping you informed along the way]? This is a case where time is money and you want to make sure you are a good fit.

Jennifer Adler, Director of Public Relations

Expect a partner, rather than a vendor.

At The James Agency we view ourselves as an extension of our clients’ marketing teams. We are invested in your business and like to be in the trenches with you. Treat your agency as a partner, and you will receive the most value from the relationship. Rather than telling us what to do, let us know what your pain points are, share your sales data with us, and ask for recommendations. It’s our job to think outside the box, so don’t box us in.

Expect to be advised whether or not your news is newsworthy.

Not all news is newsworthy. Expect to be advised by your PR agency whether or not your announcement would be of interest to the media. If it’s not something we would recommend pitching as is, we may recommend another angle or suggest promoting it through other avenues such as social media or to your e-mail database. All pitches sent to the media should be strategic, targeted and newsworthy.

Expect to be responsive.

Any good PR professional understands the importance of responsiveness when working with the media, and the best type of PR client understands that too. Many earned media opportunities crop up last minute and land on our desk because of our personal relationships with producers, editors and reporters. Help us do our jobs and secure earned coverage for your brand, by responding to our e-mails, calls and texts promptly to ensure we don’t miss deadlines and valuable media opportunities for you.

Expect to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Transparency is key when working with a PR agency. Be prepared to share past successes, failures and, most importantly, any potential land mines. Knowing the whole picture is necessary before we we can strategically determine how to best represent you. Especially in the case of reputation management and crisis communications, being able to get in front of any potential negative press and managing the message is key.

Hire a Full-Service Agency
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