Why digital agencies must treat their own brands as clients

This is the first of a 2-part blog series. 

In this post I make a case for the importance of healthy online brands for digital agencies.

Table of Contents

Source of inspiration for this blog post

Here is a Facebook post that inspired the idea for this 2-part blog series.

eNitiate |Bra Willy Seyama | Sandy Maninjwa | Facebook Post | June 2016

Sandy’s post was published on a Facebook group page called Ama-Creatives on June 8th, 2016.

By the way, when you see any name starting with “AMA” you must know it is South African.

Or am I exaggerating? *shrugs*

As will become clear in a mo, digital agencies – especially those falling within the so-called SME category, (I hate labels that are disempowering, and this is one of them) – must spend an equitable amount of time building their online brands, as they do their clients’ brands.

Black digital agencies mentioned in Sandy's post

In analysing the responses from the 8 or so respondents to Sandy’s post above, the following black digital agency names were mentioned:

  1. Avatar – arguably the largest black digital agency by billings, which was also mentioned by more than one respondent in the post;
  2. Codersink;
  3. BWD – owned by a young enterprising gentleman called Bongani Gosa;
  4. eNitiate; and
  5. Plum Factory – associated with Shaka Sisulu;

in that order.

Of course, I am not happy that eNitiate was mentioned lower on the list. 

Clearly we need to do more spade work to improve our brand’s share of mind.

RELATED ENSIGHT:

Analytics is everything to a brand with online presence - Part 1

Importance of healthy online brands

For the first 3 of the past seven years that eNitiate has been in business, there was limited attention paid to growing our own online brand. 

More focus was on clients’ brands.

However I may choose to rationalise it now, with hindsight being the best science, I have come to appreciate the importance of a healthy online presence for my company’s brand.

Here is why a healthy online presence for a digital agency is important, using comments on Sandy’s timeline:

eNitiate |Bra Willy Seyama | Sandy Maninjwa | Facebook Post | Comments | June 2016

Ok, Muntu – who I am grateful to – did not get the spelling of eNitiate 100% correct, but it was enough to assist Sandy in  finding our Website. 

This has since led to a private business chat between myself and her. 

Who knows where this might end up?

An example like the one above strengthens my personal commitment to ensuring that eNitiate, as a brand, receives the equitable focus for developing its own online presence. 

It is really important for our very existence.

Logically, digital agencies can’t sell products they cannot demonstrate the efficacy of with their own brands.

Klout scores of the mentioned black digital agencies

I would have loved to do a comparison of the online presence of the 5 digital agencies mentioned, using Klout – a tool for measuring social influence. 

But I could not find Codersink on Twitter, Plum Factory is not active, and BWD is active but is not on Klout’s radar yet.

For what it’s worth, here are eNitiate’s and Avatar’s Klout scores:

Bra Willy Seyama | Klout Scores | eNitiate | Avatar South Africa | June 2016

The higher the score out of 100, the more influential a brand is on social media.

Let me address the elephant in the room. 

There are many arguments for and against Klout as the best tool for measuring social influence. 

To my knowledge, there is no online analytics tool that offers a 100% solution. 

In this category, this is the best tool available.

Now it makes me feel better that we have a decent Klout score. 

But we still have to work harder to improve share of mind where it matters most – that is in cases where topics such as Sandy’s come up.

Treating our brand as a client

For the eNitiaters to ensure equitable focus on our brand, we had to adopt the mindset that our brand is a paying client!

It is the business of each and everyone of us in the company to contribute to the brand’s healthy online presence, and I shall indicate how we achieve it in part 2 of this series.

If the Klout score above is anything to go by, the results are showing.

Moment of truth: brand perceptions vs conversions

Updated on 13 December 2020.

Yes, having a strong brand is important.

However, a strong brand does not automatically translate into sales. 

It is only part of the formula. 

I have to admit, as I update this post, that Avatar is blazing hot at the moment.

This Black integrated marketing agency has really done well in terms of sales and brand recognition, leaving all the other Black agencies, including eNitiate, in the dust.

All I can say is: #Isendelendlela

What is the value of a healthy online brand in generating sales?

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