Brand vs. Agency: A Tale as Old as Time

Four Common Differences Between Agency-side and Client-side Marketing

Client-side versus agency-side is a tale as old as time. If you like long hours and a fast-paced highly competitive work environment you should work for an agency. If you like mundane, 9-5, and a corporate environment, you should work for a brand. The stereotypes are endless. Here are a few of the differences, and similarities, between agencies and in-house marketing teams to help you chart your own career path.

Whether you work for a brand or an agency, your creative mind will be called upon for marketing campaigns, strategic guidance, and problem solving. However, there is a difference in creativity that goes into a marketing campaign for a brand versus one for an agency.

Work for a brand if: You enjoy maintaining the image of an entire brand, with the occasional fight to have your voice heard.

Work for an agency if: You enjoy limitless creative opportunities while also working within the confines of clients’ needs.

Generally speaking, when you work for a brand you tend to see a steadier and more predictable pace of work. The reason for this is that you are working for a single client – your employer. Within an agency, there is much more variation.

Work for a brand if: You’re looking for a steady, predictable, and manageable workload and do not mind working for the same client, product, or service.

Work for an agency if: You’re looking for a work environment that keeps you busy and never leaves you bored, even if it requires long hours at times and working simultaneously with several clients on multiple campaigns.

Historically, working in-house usually meant your days were 9-5. In the new digital world, the internet never sleeps, so if a brand’s website goes offline or comments flood in, crisis on their social media channels, they may need to be more flexible with their hours. In the same way, as work-life balance becomes increasingly more important to employees, agencies are taking steps to ensure that their staff members don’t work themselves into the ground. Of course, there are still deadlines to be met and hours to be worked, but it is becoming less common on a day-to-day basis.

Having a job that is intellectually stimulating and fulfilling is something that everyone wants, but let’s not pretend that income doesn’t play a role in career decisions. Brands tend to pay more than agencies, but this varies depending on job title and company.

Work for a brand if: You’re looking for a stable and steady income with the potential to earn top wages, even if it means that promotion opportunities may be limited.

Work for an agency if: You don’t mind starting off at the bottom and climbing your way to the top, earning big money later on.

Career Progression
In order to have a successful and satisfying career, you need to consider the ability you have to move upward with future opportunities. With both agencies and brands, this largely depends on positions becoming available, but ultimately, it comes down to how individuals manage themselves.

Client-side positions do not come up as often as agency-side ones because turnover is lower. In contrast, having a strong brand under your belt can help you move to a better position at another brand. Agency-side, there is much more turnover, creating new opportunities consistently; however, these positions can be highly competitive.

Work for a brand if: You’re patient and believe the long, steady climb to the top is worth the potential reward.

Work for an agency if: You want limitless opportunities and are willing to be competitive to achieve your career goals.

Brands and agencies are becoming increasingly more comparable, but there are still differences between the two. While some differences are subtle, others are more obvious. Depending on your personality and your values, you will excel in either environment. Whatever you choose, enjoy the journey and learn everything you can from the experience!



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