What makes for a great brand-agency relationship?
This week, GO! Network members, Velstar, a Shopify plus partner agency that work with brands to achieve ecommerce excellence, sit down with their client Meglio to discuss the key to mutual success and reflect on their brand-agency relationship so far.
GO!: How did the brand-agency relationship start?
Velstar: When Meglio approached us, they were growing quickly and about to receive additional funding to drive their next phase of growth. They wanted to allocate some of this budget to their digital channels, focusing on improving the performance and ROAS of their PPC campaigns. Following a competitive pitching process, they appointed our digital marketing experts to help.
Meglio: Velstar helped double our web sales in just over a year through PPC. When we wanted a new website, it made sense to build on the strong relationship we had with the team, so having repositioned the Meglio brand from B2B to B2C, we engaged Velstar to develop a completely new site and tech stack. We did look at other agencies, but we felt Velstar could most effectively meet our brief. We now also use Velstar for SEO and paid social.
GO!: What was the brief?
Velstar: The initial brief was to improve the ROAS and double Meglio’s sales through PPC, but as our brand-agency relationship developed, Meglio appointed us to design and build their new Shopify Plus store, as well as help manage their SEO and paid social media to help drive conversions and increase revenue.
Meglio: We wanted to move the brand towards B2C but without alienating our B2B customers and wanted a sharp, modern, easy to navigate site. We had a heuristic evaluation on our previous site and we wanted all the areas highlighted in that built into the new site. Ultimately, we wanted to increase conversions and sales.
GO!: What moments stand out as being the most memorable during the brand-agency relationship?
Velstar: There have been a few!
Initially, as an agency we were tasked with improving the current campaigns Meglio was running, with an aim of 5:1 return in 3 months, which we hit. Then, there was the aim of consistently generating a minimum level of revenue through the site each day, which at around 6 months into the campaign we exceeded.
After this, we needed to focus on improving the overall online presence of Meglio, resulting in a new iteration of the store with a fresh redesign and undertaking the task of increasing the site’s organic presence through SEO. Following that, and in line with the plans of Meglio, we now have new revenue figures to reach, and are already well on our way to getting there!
For us, what has stood out at each of these points is the cooperation between Velstar and Meglio – it’s not been a case of a client demanding more from an agency, it’s been a tale of two companies working in symbiosis, which has led to a fantastic and consistently improving outcome.
Meglio: Another would definitely be celebrating doubling our web sales and going live with the new site!
GO!: What have been some key challenges you have faced together and how did you overcome them?
Velstar: From an agency perspective, the key challenge was delivering on what we had promised, quicker than we told the client that we could deliver it in. This was only possible through initial discovery sessions, where we asked all the right questions to gather the information required to structure the project. Meglio was very open to this approach, visiting our office and arriving with a carload of Meglio merchandise, which they meticulously walked us through the ins and outs of. From this, we had a clear picture not only of what Meglio wanted to achieve in terms of sales but also of what made Meglio, Meglio. They gave us clear insight into what makes them tick and what they do that benefits their own customers. We were left feeling as if we were an extension of the Meglio team. This gave us a genuine sense of ambition to help them achieve goals in any way we could.
Meglio: Yes, some of the integrations between the website and tech stack were quite tricky. Velstar researched these and put together solutions for us.
GO!: Did the pandemic change the dynamic of the partnership? How so?
Velstar: The pandemic hit around 3-4 months after our work with Meglio commenced, and by this time we had cemented the relationship with a number of face-to-face and virtual meetings. However, once lockdown took hold, communications had to be more considered with better use of technology, meetings needed to be useful and relevant – making use of the limited time we had.
Now, it’s the norm to hold short, weekly meetings via Zoom calls rather than face-to- face meetings, and this is unlikely to simply switch back once lockdown lifts.
Meglio: We have always worked together remotely, so it was just an extension of that, but I am looking forward to being invited up to Liverpool for a night out soon!
GO!: What do you think is the key to success in a brand-agency relationship?
Velstar: From the get-go, agencies have to be transparent about what they can and can’t do for a brand and set clear goals. This avoids any disappointment further down the line, and the client will value your honesty and trust you more. All too often, we hear about agencies who promise the world, but deliver very little. This can be avoided if you realistically manage expectations and are truthful about what you can achieve.
Equally though, a brand needs to be open and honest with an agency, too, regarding business updates, feedback and any changes that they might need to know about. The agency is working hard to help the client achieve the results they want, but to do this they need honesty and the most-up-to-date business information.
Meglio: Yes, honesty and regular interaction are definitely key– we talk at least once a week!
GO!: How do you measure success in your brand-agency relationship?
Velstar: The easiest and most effective way we measure the success of our client relationships is through KPIs. We define these at the beginning of our brand-agency relationship and continually monitor and adjust them to reflect the brand’s business objectives and long-term goals.
Meglio: The bottom line is definitely profitable sales and growth.
GO!: What is the most important factor when it comes to having a great relationship with the brand/agency you are working with?
Velstar: Trust. More often than not brand-agency partnerships fail because there’s a lack of trust. The key to a trusting relationship is open, honest and constant communication. That’s why from day one, we ask a brand how they want to communicate and how often.
When brands choose to work with us, they’re buying into our expertise, so it’s essential that they trust we’ll generate results. We find when a brand trusts us more, efficiency improves, the sign off process takes less time and there’s an openness to new ideas and recommendations, too.
Meglio: The outcome – results talk more than anything else. But underneath that, you need to have mutual respect and deal with people that know what they are doing.
GO!: What is the biggest misconception that you hear about working with an agency?
Velstar: One of the biggest misconceptions many brands have when it comes to working with agencies is that outsourcing services is inefficient, particularly for brands who’ve had a negative experience with agencies in the past.
But working with an agency shouldn’t be stressful. A good agency will work as part of a brand’s extended in-house team. They’ll keep the brand informed and involved throughout the working relationship. They’ll consider the brand’s success as their success. And, they’ll commit themselves to constantly innovating so they can learn and grow together.
Meglio: Snake Oil Sales people – this may be true for other agencies, but not Velstar. They’re honest and results driven. They go above and beyond to ensure KPIs are hit and are always on hand to help us whenever they need it.
What are you most excited for regarding the future of your brand-agency relationship?
Velstar: As Meglio’s chosen partner agency, we’re excited to drive the brand’s next stage of growth and help them become the global success they were always destined to be. World domination, here we come!
Meglio: We are excited to start building on our current success and doubling sales again this year.
The GO! Network work regularly with brands to help them benchmark existing agency performance, or connect them to new agency partners. If you’re looking for advice or support on building agency relationships, put some time in with us here.
Published date: June 23 2021