Not a week goes by that a multinational brand or even a large local player gets in contact with us to request a visit for a ‘getting-to-know-you’, and a ‘getting-to-know-the-market’ meeting. In these meetings, we make an effort to get-to-know the needs and concerns of those in charge of steering the marketing communications through what appears to them as unfamiliar roads with misleading signposts. Yes, navigating Iran’s market is not straightforward and yes they’re right to do the rounds to suss out which Iranian advertising agency is best suited to provide for their needs. To help those of you that are about to embark on such a journey, we’d like to provide a guidebook-style series of answers — based on the many meeting we’ve had — to help you select your top Iranian advertising agency.
Do multinational advertising agencies exist in Iran?
For the most part, Iran doesn’t currently have representation with the usual multinational advertising agencies — kind of. For reasons not only related to sanctions the subsets of major multinationals such as WWP and Omnicom don’t exist in Iran — kind of. Due to the introduction of multinational brands to Iran, those conglomerates have affiliations with local Iranian agencies as a measure to ensure consistencies in brand communications in the short-term and to ensure a footing until such a day that Iran becomes internationally integrated. One such international agency fully represented in Iran is Carat, an agency with headquarters in London. Another notable case is that of GREY’s recent affiliation with Tehran’s PGt Advertising Agency. Although many meetings have been said to be had between local and international agencies regarding more serious associations, we hear that little progress has been made and therefore, for the time being, Iran’s local agencies will be your choice.
Although we at Zigma8 Advertising Agency are not affiliated with the known international agencies, we have expanded our operations beyond Iran to have offices in Toronto, Dusseldorf as well as in Vietnam and Ukraine. Also, while we’re here, it’s worth mentioning that we’re the only local advertising agency to have became an affiliate member of American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) is us Zigma8 | 360-degree creative Communications. You can check out our profile on the 4As website here. link https://ams.aaaa.org/eweb/contentwp.aspx?WebCode=ViewAgencyInfo&AgencyKey=d2bddf57-fde7-4b86-8a1c-dc1d48272378
What types of advertising agencies exist in Iran?
The largest full-service Iranian advertising agencies in terms of turn-over, client lists, and staff numbers can be split into two groups. There are those that have been established through owning media — or at least with an inherent bias toward certain media – and there are those that provide fully integrated services without a bias. The former, agencies such as Iran Novin and Aftab, are better known for providing nation-wide campaigns for large national clients. The latter, such as Eshareh and Badkoobeh provide nationwide integrated campaigns to both large local and multinational brands. These agencies have around 80-200 employees with in-house production facilities and sister companies to assist with related marketing communications services.
Medium-sized agencies cannot be said to have a media bias split and tend to battle more for campaigns that include brand activation and engagement. Some of the noteworthy medium-sized agencies are Magnolia, Daarvag, and Maat, these agencies have around 20 to 50 employees with some in-house facilities and networks to help with related marketing communications services.
Lastly, the smaller and more specialist agencies have no media bias and are run by highly experienced, skilled teams that compose campaigns of any size using their strong connections to help deliver highly effective campaigns. Agencies in this category each have different strategies with respect to servicing national or international clients, yet are perfectly comfortable working with large or small budgets with around 8 to 20 employees.
How do I know what size Iranian advertising agency suits my needs?
Any of the agency sizes mentioned above are able to provide nationwide integrated creative campaigns for local or international clients. There may be few differences in implementation and production quality among the various sized agencies but differences may show in what happens before and what happens after a campaign. Larger agencies have access to a larger range of tools that can provide deeper market research and post-campaign analytics. Smaller agencies are less likely to use these tools and arguably don’t need to what with the greater experience and skills. It could be said that larger agencies can verify how safe their campaigns are and smaller agencies will continually be told how sensational their campaigns are.
It is worth mentioning that Iran is plagued with a skills shortage due to the relentless brain-drain — which coupled with the uninspiring industry wages means that larger agencies eventually bleed the nation’s remaining talent. As and when the best and brightest leave, they can reemerge to compete as smaller agencies, leaving multinationals — those with high-volume needs — with a difficult choice to make. Such clients can be faced with a choice between having a large agency provide their wider-ranging services, within a slow and imperfect system, or having to coordinate among wide-ranging suppliers for faster and possibly more effective results.
Can Iranian advertising agencies also provide wider marketing or branding services?
Advertising in Iran has for the most part been the defining area of marketing communications for around 30-years, coming from a time when clients haphazardly requesting media and expecting media owners to prepare the necessary content. From these roots advertising agencies in Iran have, for the most part, provided branding services, and with the introduction of wider competition, those agencies have also assumed the role of marketeer. As multinationals increasingly enter the market and as international practices are embraced, advertising agencies in Iran are increasing performing more conventional roles, outsourcing to other suppliers for help with market research, merchandising material and sampling servicing to name a few.
Is Zigma8 the advertising agency for you in Iran?
We at Zigma8 thrive on providing creative marketing communications that get results. We are made up of an experienced and highly skilled team that can tap into our network to help deliver not only advertising but also your wider branding and marketing needs. We are not an agency that can provide for high-volume needs, but we are more than capable of servicing for multinationals that want impact in Iran’s growing market.
We hope that the answers above have helped enlighten you on Iran’s emerging market and the choice of service providers within it. We are sure that you have further questions and welcome you to get in contact or pay a visit so we can help answer them.