Blog Cover 3 Foundational Considerations

Three Foundational Considerations When Starting Your Creative Agency Search

As a business owner, setting the right foundation at the beginning of your agency search will help you decide on a creative partnership that helps your business thrive.

You’re out there, making shit that matters. Whether that’s growing a new brand, leading an organization through a major change, addressing underserved needs within your community, or anything in between, you’re working to make a real impact and real change. And now you’re ready: To spread the word about your brand, expand your offerings, or deliver empowering content to your audience.

You want what you’re putting out there to feel like your brand and organization’s values. On top of seeking an agency you really connect with, as a woman- owned or led organization, finding one that actually understands the challenges unique to your space in the industry might feel overwhelming.

Women make more than 80% of purchasing decisions but own only about 0.1% of creative agencies, leading to huge gaps in understanding what female consumers really want.

It can be difficult to know how to navigate finding the right partner: Which agency will understand what your brand (and audience!) really needs, and deliver the most effective scope of services to meet those needs?

Even if you’ve worked with agencies before, maybe you’ve still never quite found the right partnership.

We got you.

We think thoughtful and meaningful creative content can help grow responsible and transparent companies that create a more conscientious world. These three foundational considerations are a great place to start in finding an agency that not only aligns with your philosophy, but takes your brand—and mission—to the next level.

1. Clarify your goals and expectations.

Before you even begin looking for a creative agency, it’s critical to nail down internally what your team is looking for. Having clear goals for a creative campaign or overarching marketing strategy—or even a willingness to admit what you DON’T know that you need, but are ultimately hoping to achieve—will go a long way to helping you narrow down the kind of partnership you’re looking for.

Questions to Ask:

  • What are you hoping to accomplish right now?
    • Are you looking to create brand awareness?

    • Cultivate a social or digital following more aligned with your core values?

    • Improve your ROI?

    • Create a library of images for your digital marketing?

    • Improve your brand imagery, voice, or overall cohesion?

  • How about in the next quarter?

  • In the next year?

After you’ve been able to come up with a clear list of goals and can articulate your expectations, you’re ready to begin your agency search. Beyond looking at the agency’s offerings to see if they match up with your needs (Step 1!), can you tell if they have a history of delivering what they claim for their clients? Ask to speak with some of their clients for references.

Here at Aras, we consider our clients our partners. One of the major ways we help our partners is by curating a creative team around your organization’s objectives. Our highly experienced leadership team remains the same for each project, but we work with a variety of photographers, videographers, producers, and more to create deliverables shaped specifically with your objectives in mind.

2. Determine if your values or philosophies align.

You want to work with a creative partner that has the expertise and know-how you’re looking for, yes, but also one you trust fully from a values perspective. If you can feel confident in both their experience and their approach, you’ll have a healthier working relationship that can really thrive—and you’ll likely make some really cool shit together.

Questions to Ask:

  • What values are important to you and your company?

  • Which ones make up your essence?

  • Are there any areas of your marketing strategy you want to better reflect those values? For example, say you’re wanting to increase diversity in your branding. What is the agency team’s makeup? What is their track record of doing the same either a) on their own team, or b) for their clients?

  • What are the agency’s values? How do they demonstrate those values?

This can go beyond deliverables, too. If your business places an emphasis on sustainability but an agency you’re considering partnering with represents a timber operation, there may not be authentic shared values.

Obviously, you don’t need to agree on everything with a creative partner, but if you’re wanting to move toward creating a more socially conscientious world, don’t neglect to notice if your core values are out of alignment with theirs.

At Aras, we’re upfront about both our values and what we’re doing to back them up. We believe in helping responsible and transparent companies grow through thoughtful and meaningful creative content in order to change how people think about the world—and you’ll see this reflected in the work we do for our partners.

Any agency you work with should make it easy for you to see what they value and why.

Establish if the agency is nimble and open to change.

While you want to hire an agency with expertise and experience, choosing one that abides by a “We’ve always done it this way, so…” attitude could hold you back. Chances are as a woman- or minority-led organization, you’re already bucking up against some long-held trends. The agency you hire shouldn’t in any way quash this! You want to see an agency has an established track record, but is open to change. And particularly since the advent of social media, the rate at which trends change, cultural awareness expands, and digital algorithms shift requires constant learning and adapting. An agency should be well aware of this.

Questions to Ask:

  • Can you push back in early conversations?

  • Do they tell you how they’ll shift directions if an approach doesn’t have the desired outcome?

  • Can they give examples of how they’ve had to pivot for other clients?

  • How do they manage changes to scopes of work?

  • How will they measure success? Will you be part of that conversation?

Our philosophy at Aras is to treat the organization we work with as partners, not clients. You know your brand, and we exist to help you grow—your brand awareness, your reach, your impact. Even though every team member at Aras has years of top-level experience, we prioritize an “always learning, always teachable” mentality. Ultimately, we genuinely want you to succeed, and we’re here to help you get there.


If you focus on these key considerations, you’ll have a great starting place to determine if an agency aligns with your values, will help you meet your goals and expectations, and exhibits the kind of flexibility that breeds creativity and innovation.

Then you’ll be well on your way to making (more) shit that matters.

Want to know more about our method? Let’s talk. Book a free consultation.