How We Work: Behind The Scenes
You could call Metacake an agency…but we intentionally try to steer clear of this label.
In fact, we like to call ourselves the “un-agency.”
It’s simple. Metacake exists to create great brands and help other businesses grow in healthy and quantifiable ways. The only way to do that in any predicable fashion is with a clear vision, intelligent strategy, and discipline, planning, and execution…and the fact is many agencies (and we’ve interacted with a lot) operate quite differently. Now that’s not to say that all agencies are ill-intentioned or that there aren’t great agencies, but the truth is – working for (many) clients is extremely hard – and in order to do it safely and successfully you need a confident and strong set of rules, a clear vision for success, nerves or steel, and rigorous discipline. We’ve found this combination not only hard to accomplish, but extremely rare. It takes intention.
More commonly (and more traditionally) agencies operate under a carefully crafted veil of mystery about how things are accomplished which breads a culture of emergency, fear, and chaos trying to defend themselves against being cut from the value chain at every turn. The fear of that veil dropping to the ground breads a “master/servant” dynamic between the client and themselves. This not only leads to a culture of stress and burnout on the part of the agency, but also lowers the quality of work that is delivered and the ultimate satisfaction of the client. Sounds like a lose-lose.
So we thought, “Hmmm…there must be a better way.”
And there is.
You see, emergency and chaos are just a thinly veiled disguise for poor planning and preparation (assuming skill and value are pre-requisites). In fact, proper planning and discipline mitigates nearly all of the fear, chaos, and states of emergency that arise in most businesses today. You just have to be realistic and make planning a critical step in your process before any project begins.
That is how we work.
Sounds obvious, right? Well, it may be obvious, but the fact is that businesses are rarely run this way…at least not consistently.
Plan, plan, plan…and then plan some more.
Planning isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and hard work on both the agency side and the client side. Both parties must have a deep understanding of the project scope and requirements…and that means asking a lot of questions and digging into the real pain points of the business and the goals of any particular project before you even begin.
Most agencies just take their clients word as gospel. If they say they need a new website with a blog, that’s what they get. The agency gets to work straight away after meeting for just a couple of hours (or maybe even less). In a few rare instances, this might work out. Maybe a simple website with a blog is really all this client needed. But more likely than not, this website won’t accomplish the client’s intended goals and they will end up dissatisfied both with the end product and the agency that built it…even though it is expressly what they asked for.
This is where we’re different. Instead, we focus on the business goals of our clients. We design solutions that will help our clients attain their goals…and usually this solution isn’t exactly what the client thought they needed when they first walked in the door.
Instead of taking our clients at their word, we spend time to make sure that what our clients think they need is what they actually need. Rather than just creating a pretty product in isolation, we aim to drive success and to help our client’s business grow.
Put me in, Coach!
We define our role as that of coach as much as an agency partner. For our clients, we are the authority when it comes to our area of expertise. Otherwise they wouldn’t have hired us. And we take that seriously. We frequently push back on clients and challenge them if we disagree with their strategy or next steps, or if we see a better opportunity for them.
We work together with our clients to define what success looks like for them and only then do we craft a solution that everyone believes will work to achieve this goal. And then we get to planning, in a very detail oriented and structured way.
Partners, Not Servants
Now, this approach is not always a popular one. And we will be the first to admit that not every potential client is the right fit for us. Our philosophy and approach to our work is based on partnership. It’s simply unrealistic to believe that any agency can take money, leave, and come back with the perfect result/product for you. If you have ever worked with a counselor or a coach before, you know this can be an effort-filled process at times. But you can’t expect success without hard work and dedication from both sides.
We look for clients that are willing to learn and are extremely motivated and passionate about their work and growing their business. We aren’t a company interested in being arbitrarily bossed around. Let’s be honest – some people are looking to hire servants. We don’t tolerate this, because it’s inefficient, doesn’t produce consistent successful results, and is simply un-enjoyable.
Rather, we look to be true partners, both working towards the same goal. Valuing the other’s area of expertise and creating something amazing together.
If this sounds good to you, then we may just be destined to work together.