Answers to Column Five’s Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

by Josh Ritchie

We’re honored to have worked with so many great brands over the years at Column Five. We’re also always happy to help new brands tell their stories in creative ways. However, we know that working with a new agency can be a scary enterprise. If you haven’t worked with us (or any agency) before, there are a lot of unknowns.

We want any current or potential partner to feel confident in our working relationship, which is why we thought we’d answer the most common questions we get from clients.

The Top 10 Column Five FAQS

Whether you’re interested in working with us or just wondering how we do what we do, here’s a little insight into our work.  

  1. What type of services do you provide?
  2. Do you have experience in my industry?
  3. Do you have bandwidth to take on my account?
  4. What are your minimums?
  5. How long do projects take?
  6. How quickly can you start?
  7. What does your creative process look like?
  8. Who will I be working with at Column Five?
  9. Will my team change as time goes on?
  10. How can we ensure our engagement goes smoothly?

1) What type of services do you provide?

Whether you need a partner to oversee your rebrand or someone to produce a fresh explainer video, we provide a full range of marketing services. Of course, we know every brand’s needs are unique, so if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in the list below, let’s talk about what you’re looking for. But in general, we provide the following services:

Brand Development

We help you align your business and brand with a robust brand strategy that uncovers your true identity, gives you the tools to communicate your story, and helps you create a consistent brand experience that turns people into lifelong customers.  

  • Brand Foundation
    • Brand Heart
      • Purpose
      • Vision
      • Mission
      • Values
    • Brand Strategy
      • Goals & Objectives
      • Audiences
      • Market Positioning
      • Products & Services
      • Brand Architecture
  • Brand Expression
    • Brand Messaging
      • Value Proposition
      • Tagline
      • Personality
      • Pillars
      • Story
    • Visual Identity
      • Name
      • Logo
      • Typography
      • Color Palette
      • Etc.

Content Strategy

If you want to hit your marketing goals, let us craft a custom content strategy to help you find your strongest stories, reach the right people, measure your success, and do it all as efficiently as possible.  

  • Research and Insights 
  • Discovery 
  • Personas 
  • Customer Journey Map
  • Keyword Strategy
  • Channel Planning
  • Content Roadmap
  • Creative Recommendations 
  • Campaign Planning
  • Measurement Approach

Content Creation

Our expert team will help you engage your audience at every touchpoint with fresh, unique, and beautiful content that’s on brand, on budget, and on time.     

  • Annual Report
  • Copywriting 
  • Data Visualization
  • Ebooks
  • Explainer Videos
  • Infographics
  • Interactive Content
  • Motion Graphics
  • Presentation Design
  • Reports
  • Social media content (includes microcontent)
  • Video
  • White Papers
  • Web Design & Development

Distribution Strategy

Get the right eyes on your stories with a strategy tailored to your audience and channels, boosted by our established distribution networks. 

  • Audience Targeting
  • Campaign Management
  • Earned Outreach
  • Media Planning
  • Paid Social
  • Reporting 

2) Do you have experience in my industry?

Most likely. Most of our work is with growth-stage SaaS companies, but we have worked with many different types of clients over the last 10+ years. Take a look at our clients to see who else we’ve worked with.

3) Do you have bandwidth to take on my account?

This is usually the first question we get, and the answer is…probably. Over the last decade we’ve refined our process, streamlined our infrastructure, and built a super talented team that can do a lot (like that time we helped LinkedIn produce 101 graphics in 24 hours). That said, our availability depends on a few things: how quickly you need a project done, what that project is, how you’re distributing it, etc.

Caveat: We care a lot about our partners, and we’ll do whatever we can to help them create awesome content. But we also don’t think every brand is a fit for us. Even if we have the availability, we won’t take on brands whose visions don’t align with ours (sorry, fracking industry).

4) What are your minimums?

We believe in developing long-term, collaborative relationships with our clients. For new accounts, we have a minimum annual engagement of $100,000. (Most of our accounts are long-term, retainer-based relationships with clients that spend between $100,000-$300,000 per quarter on ongoing strategy, creation, and distribution.)

5) How long do projects take?

Again, it depends on the project, timeline, client involvement, review and edit rounds, etc. The more complicated a project (e.g., a live-action video), the more people and resources we need to coordinate. We pride ourselves on delivering quality content, so we don’t overcommit or cut corners to get it done.

In general, our turnaround time is for each content type is:

  • Brand Development: 4-12 weeks
  • Content Strategy: 5-6 weeks
  • Infographic: 4 weeks
  • Motion graphic: 4-8 weeks
  • Interactive: 5-10 weeks
  • E-book: 4-6 weeks
  • Live-action video: 6-12 weeks

6) How quickly can you start?

Since we always staff our teams with the intention of forging a long-term partnership, our lead times can be longer than others. We typically kick off an engagement 30 days after receiving a verbal commitment to work together.

7) What does your creative process look like?

We view our creative engagements as collaborative experiences, and thus we’ve simplified and refined our process over the years to ensure the end result is something everyone is happy with.

Depending on the type of campaign we’re collaborating on, some elements differ slightly, but our process generally looks something like this for a typical engagement:

  1. Discovery: Our engagements often start with a discovery period of 1 to 3 weeks. During this time, we integrate into your world to familiarize ourselves with your brand visuals, your brand voice, your goals, and your competitors. This ensures we fully understand the creative sandbox we’ll be playing in. 
  2. Strategy Work: Whether it’s a content strategy, a brand strategy, or a campaign strategy, our strategists propose solutions to the creative problems you need solved. (Throughout this time, we have various check-ins to ensure our team is providing strategic recommendations that align with your needs.) 
  3. Production Work: With strategy locked, we begin content production. Our strategists collaborate with our various creative service teams, including copy, design, video, and interactive, to develop the content that will support the campaign goals and initiatives. 
  4. Distribution and Results Reporting: Ideally, our team will work with you to oversee the rollout of the campaign—and manage and report on its performance in real-time to make sure we’re maximizing your results. 
  5. Retrospective: At the end of the campaign, we reflect on what went well, what could be improved in subsequent campaigns, and how we want to keep iterating to get you the best results. Ideally, we repeat this process over a period of months or quarters to nurture the partnership we’ve established. 

8) Who will I be working with at Column Five?

Our creative teams usually involve a producer, designer(s), art director, and account director. But, depending on the project, the team may be more involved. You might work with a mix of: 

  • Producer: Part project manager/part creative, producers are your point of contact. They keep the team on track, facilitate production, and often contribute to creative content.
  • Designer(s): As the visual brains, designers lend their expertise in visual communication to make sure the idea is strong and executed effectively.
  • Art Director: The AD oversees the creative execution, ensuring everything is of quality and on-brand.
  • Account Director: Our Account Directors are the primary caretakers of our client relationships, ensuring engagements are running smoothly and all parties are satisfied.
  • Editorial: This includes expert writers who will execute creative content.
  • Developers: These are the pros who bring interactives and animation to life.

Our team is distributed, but we’re a well-oiled machine, so we keep things going even if we’re working across timezones.

9) Will my team change as time goes on?

Your core team (strategist, account director, producer, and art director) will stay constant, while other team members may rotate in, depending on the particular work needed.

10) How can we ensure our engagement goes smoothly?

We think the best work comes from a great brand-agency relationship, so there are a few things you can do to help the process.

  • Fully fill out the brief. We start with an engagement brief that helps us understand who you are, what you’re trying to achieve, and how we can help you get there. This document is crucial to keep everyone on the same page and keep the project on track throughout our engagement.  
  • Communicate early and often. We find that’s the best way to identify and resolve issues before they become real issues. It’s also helpful to let us know your preferred modes of communication (Slack, email, etc.).
  • Include key stakeholders from the beginning. Nothing derails a project like someone throwing in critical feedback once we’re practically wrapped. All stakeholders should approve content at every deliverable stage so no surprises throw a wrench in the process later on.
  • Consolidate feedback. Designate one point person to consolidate and collate feedback from all of those important stakeholders.

For more ways to make things easier, check out these tips on how to work effectively with your content agency.

We Love What We Do, So We’re Happy to Chat

Hopefully we’ve answered a few of your questions (or maybe we’ve inspired a few more). We love what we do, so we’re happy to chat about any projects you’re working on or creative challenges you’re facing. (We’ve helped all sorts of brands tell their stories, so we know what works, what doesn’t, and how you can improve on what you’re already doing.)

In the meantime, if you’re curious to learn more about who we are and how we work:

We hope we’ll get a chance to work together in the future.

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