Defining your agency purpose

When it comes to understanding brands and their needs in a more socially conscious market, what better source to find out more than straight from a brand with a philanthropic vision. This week’s guest on Word on the Street is advocating positive change for physical and mental health, values which form the basis for healthy snack brand KIND’s relationships with agencies.

KIND’s UK Marketing Director John McManus describes the most desirable traits of an agency when they’re looking to collaborate, and the importance of alignment between the two businesses’ goals. 

Katie also hears the dos and don’ts of approaching brands, how agencies have gained strength from being backed into a corner this year, and the sources that brands REALLY use to learn about an agency’s work.

This episode covers

  • Brands changing their approach for 2020
  • How brands have kept relationships with agencies
  • The strength gained from being backed in a corner
  • Creating campaigns with like-minded companies
  • Differing capabilities of small vs large agencies
  • How best to approach a brand
  • The sources brands use to read about agencies

Word on the Street is lucky enough to be sponsored by the wonderful team at Just After Midnight who are experts in uptime. Whatever the issue, whatever the time of day, they are supporting your websites and applications 24/7, while your team sleeps. Learn more:

Links & references 

Katie Street:

John McManus:


Get in touch: [email protected]

Episode highlights 

“We had to pivot really quickly. We did and we’ve finished the year strong, but it would be a lie to say that we weren’t affected in our business, and that our Profit and Loss wasn’t affected by the pandemic.” – 8:24 – John McManus

“The relationship with agencies never changed for us, because I think we’re very lucky where, from a financial point of view, we could still afford to do a lot this year and do a lot of the projects we wanted to do, but clearly in a different way.” – 9:34 – John McManus

“I think the test-and-learn mentality is wrong – a lot of the time we call them pilots, because we’re moving so quickly we don’t learn a lot, but we learn on the go. ” – 10:03 – John McManus

“When you’re backed into a corner and have pressures like we’ve had this year where people could lose their jobs, I think agencies and the people within agencies, from what we’ve seen at least, have had to be proactive.” – 15:15 – John McManus

“Our brand vision is to build a kinder world, and part of that is about being kind to yourself, your communities, and the world.” – 20:54 – John McManus

“We’re super proud to work with agencies that have purpose within their core values. But if they don’t, then the people. We like to think that we have good radar for people that are there to do good.” – 26:16 – John McManus

“When you have a team or a business that takes diversity inclusion seriously, the change in direction, and opinions just changes overnight, and it’s amazing to see. So you’re seeing by diversity and experience and background and all of these things; the result is a different outcome for the brand.” – 29:18 – John McManus

“I think we have a long way to go, across all industries, but the difference now is that there’s no disagreement. Everyone’s on the same page. And like I said, it’s not an overnight change, but it’s something we can have an impact on.” – 31:25 – John McManus

“I really get turned off when agencies preempt an issue. For example, they’ll ask me an open question like ‘Is your social media working as hard as it could be?’ – the answer is always going to be no!” – 38:00 – John McManus

“I think brands want to see good work, and I think they want to understand what their competitors are doing more than they admit. So if one of my one of my competitors does a cool ad, or a cool activation that I think is good, my team will get a WhatsApp from me being like ‘Who did this?’,  I’ll want to understand the story behind this.” – 40:33 – John McManus