What Is a Creative Agency? Basics and What They Do

What Is a Creative Agency? Basics and What They Do

If your company is poised for growth, you’ll want to create a compelling, consistent message and a smart marketing strategy to help transform your business into a brand.

Creative agencies help businesses design and sustain memorable and influential brands. They can help businesses close more sales, expand their market share, build brand awareness, and improve overall public perception. Creative agencies can devise creative marketing strategies that help you achieve your business goals.

Hiring a creative agency brings new skill sets from seasoned marketing and design experts to your team. Adding marketing support can help free up your team to focus on the work that you’re doing for your clients and on advancing your business.

This article discusses the role a creative agency can play in building your brand, the services they provide, and the advantages of working with a creative agency or freelance creative talent.

What is a creative agency?

A creative agency is a marketing and advertising firm that fuses traditional marketing strategies and the latest technologies and trends, and applies them across the most effective channels for their clients. Working with a creative agency gives businesses complete access to a team of highly skilled creative talent.

Full-service creative agencies might provide services like graphic design, advertising, web development, web design, content development, and even offer technologies that can help companies to better market their services.

Some creative agencies specialize in different types of marketing, like online marketing, video production, or social media management. Other agencies target specific markets or industries like technology, travel, or entertainment. Choosing an agency with specialized industry insight and direction can be particularly beneficial.  

If you’re trying to determine if bringing on a creative agency is the right choice, keep these things in mind:

  • Your budget. Compare the cost of staffing and onboarding an in-house team versus hiring an agency that might be more costly but can begin working immediately. A budget-conscious business might also consider hiring freelance talent to control costs and keep work in-house.  
  • Expertise needed. Small businesses or startups can benefit from industry knowledge provided by certain types of creative agencies. Positions that require specialized and in-demand talent might be easier to find at a creative agency than they would be to hire.
  • Internal resources. If your company’s marketing efforts are taking time away from sales and other critical efforts, hiring a creative agency can be a quick solution to free up those internal resources.

A small business may have neither the budget nor the need to hire a fully staffed in-house marketing team. Hiring a creative agency can help you fill in skills gaps while saving you the time and cost of staffing indefinitely.

Common creative agency services


Creative agencies provide marketing and sales services that help establish, maintain, and grow brand identity. Full-service agencies provide maximum marketing support for their clients with a wide array of marketing services.

Common creative agency services include:

  • Copywriting. Copywriters produce clear and concise content for ads, marketing materials, or websites. Digital copywriters may also deliver optimized website copy, blog posts, and product descriptions.
  • Content creation. Content creators help produce relevant, entertaining, or educational content that you can share on social media and other media.
  • Copy editing. Copy editors review written material for errors. Depending on the service, they might offer developmental edits and fact check; check for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation; and ensure material adheres to a style guide.
  • Logo design. Logo designers specialize in creating memorable and compelling logos that help tell the story of your business.
  • Graphic design. Graphic designers provide professional graphics that support marketing materials, webpages, blog posts, social media posts, billboards, and more.
  • Video production. Video producers and editors create high-quality videos from the initial concept through post-production.
  • Web design. Web designers focus on the user experience that makes your website stand out from competitors and convert more sales.
  • Web development. Web developers write the code that powers the website and can help companies integrate service, sales, and marketing technologies.

The advantages of working with a creative agency

So, what are the biggest advantages to working with a creative agency? To start, you’ll get fresh insights and new perspectives from an experienced creative team. You’ll also benefit from elite design skills, technical expertise, expert execution, creative strategies, and more time to focus on high-level business goals.

Professional insights and experience

An outside perspective, particularly from an experienced agency specializing in your industry, can offer marketing teams fresh ideas and insights that can improve their brand and message.

In-house marketing teams can still benefit from collaboration with specialized creative agencies who can provide industry-specific market research to help boost your company’s bottom line.

Expert perspective on visual and graphic assets

Companies that invest in their visuals and graphics can reap long-term benefits with better brand recognition and customer retention. Data suggests that 53% of website visits are likely to be abandoned if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. A lack of attention to design can undermine your sales teams by lowering the perception of your business’s quality of products or services.

A creative agency can help you develop your brand style guide and craft a cohesive look and feel that helps your brand stand out.

First-rate execution and expedience

Creative agencies are staffed with talented creators who can design and implement your marketing plans. Whether you need content for inbound marketing, optimized pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, or custom features for your website, creative agencies have experienced talent who can quickly execute for a faster return on investment.

Measurable results and accountability

If your current strategy (or team) isn’t providing the results you’re looking for, a creative agency can step in to help right the ship. A creative agency is highly motivated to provide clients with immediate, measurable results, as their relationship with your company depends on it.

Agencies also may have insights into what kind of measures have worked best for others.

Augmented competencies of your core team

Is your marketing manager great at many things, but graphic design is not one of them? Do you have a dedicated person doing your social media, or are you sporadically and haphazardly doing it yourself?

A creative agency can fill any skill gaps in your personnel and help your team stay focused on their core competencies. A creative agency can offer you complete access to a web designer, graphic designer, copywriter, videographer, or most other creative talents in one place.

Improved audience appeal

A beautifully designed website, sleek logo, catchy content, and a cohesive look are all parts of a winning marketing cocktail. Creative agencies can help your company tie messaging and design together for a more impactful brand identity that entices your target audience.

Design and creativity can make a big difference in user experience, and a great user experience is an important step in improving your bottom line.  

Digital marketing agencies vs. creative agencies

Digital marketing agencies offer services designed for online advertising and promotion efforts. Any company with an online presence (or that wants to establish one) can benefit from a digital marketing program. Some digital marketing agencies have specific focuses or strengths like social media, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, or website design and development. A full-service agency can support all of the above digital solutions.

Creative agencies may provide digital marketing services, but they also offer graphic design for print (such as logo design, direct mail, brochure design, etc.) They also can assist with marketing strategies, providing market research, analytics, and other high-level marketing services.  

Sometimes, a business will have an in-house marketing team, but that team may lack the specific digital marketing expertise to help them with online lead generation, inbound content strategy, or website analytics to leverage opportunities online. A digital agency can be a great option for a small business just starting to establish itself online.

Digital agency services Include:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • Brand development online
  • Content marketing services
  • Facebook ads
  • LinkedIn and other social media advertising
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Website design
  • Web development
  • E-commerce management
  • Mobile app development

The easiest way to find a creative agency

If your business is ready to transform from a business to a brand, consider hiring a creative agency to help you get there. Search Upwork’s talent database and find the top professional creative talent ready to start working with you today.

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What Is a Creative Agency? Basics and What They Do
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large Fortune 100 enterprises, with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and freelancers to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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