How Small Advertising Agencies Brand Themselves on the Web: A Pilot Study

Martine Robinson Beachboard
InSITE 2016  •  2016  •  pp. 031
Marketing communication agencies are in the business of branding other companies. In the current media landscape, ad agencies need to demonstrate their communication expertise through the Internet including their homepages. This pilot study collected data and user impressions on the websites of 42 randomly selected small advertising agencies. Companies with 10 or fewer employees were of specific interest because of the limited resources they bring to the competitive process. We used content analysis to compare the studied sites with validated criteria for quality websites in seven categories. These areas addressed design, navigation, technology, functionality and content. The content areas concerned reputation, relationship-building opportunities and distinctive branding features. Researchers found mixed results concerning the key branding elements of clarity, competence and credibility, distinctive personality, and demonstrations of expertise. There seems to be room for small ad agencies to improve the way they brand themselves through their websites. The conference presentation shares preliminary findings on how well agencies did at validating their credentials, building relationships, and communicating clearly. Recommendations are offered.
branding, branding elements, corporate image, credibility, digital branding, differentiation, message clarity, small advertising agencies, unique selling personality, unique selling proposition, USP
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