05 Design Week Top 100 – how to build on success

The annual rankings are out. The winners are celebrating while the losers are pretending they never cared. It’s the time of year when most of us who work in the design industry take a break from standing by the air con or dreaming of Mediterranean beaches to check out the Design Week Top 100, see who is on the up, and most importantly find out where we’re placed.

Refreshing positivity

There was much good news this year. To read that 24 consultancies have grown by more than 10%, 15 by more than 25% and five by more than 50% in the past 12 months, tallies with our direct experiences of working with design agencies, and is a refreshing note of positivity in an industry that can too easily talk itself down.

For the 28 newcomers to the Top 100 this is very often a pivotal moment. Some of the design industry’s leading names recall fondly the time they first saw their agency – their baby – appear in this listing. They talk of it as a kind of coming of age. For those who are returning after an absence, for whatever reason, it is a statement that they are back.

So, how to build on it? Appearing in this list for the first time, or making a move up the rankings is a defining moment – how to capitalise on it so that next year you appear even higher?

This is a question that agencies have been putting to us for years. We propose a two-stage process.

Tell your friends

Firstly tell everyone who already knows you. Celebrate internally. Recognise the people who’ve played a major part in making it happen. Make everyone feel proud of the agency they work at, and excited about where they could take it.

Do the same with clients. Thank them for the crucial role they’ve played in your agency’s success. Don’t be too coy about this. Remember they face a daily challenge to justify spend on design. This helps them demonstrate they have picked the right agency partner.

Bear in mind that this sort of internal and external self-promotion need not end up with you chanting a company song every morning, and issuing dull emails to clients about “your exciting news”. Think creatively about how you share this news with colleagues and clients. You’re experts in this sort of thing, so find a way that feels right for your agency, and make sure you do it.

Build on this momentum

Next comes the hard part: telling the people who don’t know you. This is about getting the people who don’t work for you, or who hire you, or who already follow you on Twitter or Instagram, to notice the great work you’re doing.

It is not easy to do well, as anyone who has ever tried will tell you, but it can be done. It’s what we do day in, day out for our clients. A positive placing in the Design Week Top 100 is where many of them start.

Through investing in effective PR and new business, agencies are able to seize momentum and build on it, creating a reputation for their agency, driving new business wins, and ensuring that next year they’re placed even higher.

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