5 Ways Hiring an Advertising Agency is Like Going to Burning Man | nnbw.com

5 Ways Hiring an Advertising Agency is Like Going to Burning Man

By Lucas Pakele
Lucas Pakele swims in the Jacuzzi ball pit at last year's Burning Man.
Courtesy Estipona Group

This is for those uninitiated virgins of advertising, the ones who’ve been thinking about promoting their product or service, but have yet to begin that journey of “enlightenment.” Hiring an ad agency is in many ways exactly like going to Burning Man (sans the dust), and we’re here to prepare you for the challenges that come with trusting others, finding the right agency and embracing the great unknown.

We promise we won’t initiate you by forcing you to make playa angels after we make a deal (though you TOTALLY win points if you do.

1.Embrace the unknown

 Advertising can be a confusing realm. Grassroots? Native advertising? Search engine optimization? And to keep it all synchronized and on message takes serious organization and planning. Oh, and it costs money, time and resources.

Scary, right? Well, like Burning Man, It’s full of mystery and opportunity. You’ll never know what’s beyond the horizon if you never leave your camp. Taking your business or organization to the next level is a risk, but isn’t it worth taking? Whether we’re talking about losing (and finding) yourself on a dusty desert or starting a new venture for your company, if you never try, you’ll never know.

2. Leave behind your baggage

You don’t go to Burning Man to take the world with you — that’s missing the whole point. It’s the same when you hire an advertising agency. If what you’re doing now is enough, you likely wouldn’t need to hire help. But you want more, and that’s where we agencies come in. Share your challenges with us, and then let them go. Creativity works best when it’s not bogged down by preconceptions or fear. Now you get to enjoy the freedom of giving responsibility to your wise teammates.

3. Learn to trust

Whether you’re trying to generate leads, forge new relationships, create conversations or all three, you’ll need to trust the team of people at the agency you’ve hired. That’s how Burning Man camps pull off the incredible feats they do. They’re not all everything all the time. With an agency, you’ve got someone dedicated to strategy, public relations, creative, production, service management, reporting and coordinators to affect it all.

These people have spent their professional lives working at improving their skillsets. Many burner camp crew leaders have as well; both are veterans of their worlds. If you can learn to trust their leadership, they’ll take you to amazing places and show you amazing things you’ve never experienced before.

Learn from their wisdom, and you’ll be one step ahead of those weekend warrior types that end up dirty and dehydrated.

4. Find your peeps

Every agency, just like every camp at Burning Man, has its own quirkiness. They’ve got their own unique niches, philosophies and personalities. If you’re going to have a good time exploring unknown realms, you’ll need to do it with people you vibe with. Matching your company with the right ad agency means finding people you’re comfortable with. Advertising and dusty deserts are not for the faint of heart. When the dust storm rolls in and you find yourself lost, you’ll want to feel confident your team can find its way out. This means looking for more than just basic qualifications, but finding an agency that really gets your style and feels natural to work with (you’ll be doing it an awful lot).

5. Bask in the glow

After all your hard work and investment, it’s important to sit back and reflect on the experience. Your agency will show you results — the payoff for all the hard work you’ve all been dedicating to this project. And when you’ve met your objectives and delivered a sizable return on investment, enjoy it. Burners wait all year long to light the man’s effigy on fire and watch it burn. You’ve waited long enough to enjoy the next level of your organization, and it’s finally here.

Giving responsibility for your business to an agency is scary, but the payoff is worth it. They’ve got enough experience to load your camp into that semi, drive it out to the desert and assemble it into a new and interesting form that will draw crowds of people to enjoy the experience you’ve created for them. So, jump in that wagon and let’s hit the road.

Lucas Pakele is PR/social media coordinator at the Estipona Group — and yes, he’s a veteran Burner and part of a well-known gay camp called the GlamCocks. For more mind-blowing communication stuff and whatnot, subscribe to Estipona Group’s e-newsletter, which comes out just often enough (but not so often to be annoying).