However long one has been in Agency adland, these times are different, or at least they need to be.
The challenge is that too much has stayed the same; structures, roles, ways of reporting, aspects of accountability ways of being employed etc
Despite all the creative, marketing, strategic, technical and data generative talent we have, brands and consumers seem further apart than ever.
Whilst it can always be argued that we exist to generate profitable income for our companies, truth be told I still believe that this overtly influences short termism and evident tactical response to potentially significant opportunities.
We are here to develop and grow sustainable and meaningful relationships between Brands and consumers.
When we review our progress, we must all collectively hold ourselves accountable to this. In agency terms it means recognising the collective value of adland in working collegiately with clients and other suppliers to this end and reducing and eliminating the ‘communication friction’ that occurs when the various entities are not in harmony. Consumers sense this discord because what they get, when they get it is not on point. It is a bit like managers under pressure, assuring their staff that all is going well and they are brilliant, but in truth the managers body language conflicts with the words spoken. We all get this, consumers are no less different but increasingly a lot less tolerant.
Whilst in financial terms the objectives of the agencies, the Clients and the platforms are the same, i.e. generate as much income for as little cost, they are in direct conflict when working together. When it comes to the objective of an evident contribution to the sustainable improvement in Brand/Consumer relationships, all parties can agree and work in collegiate harmony to this ‘noble’ goal.
The magic of agency life is a culture where (as my old agency used to maintain) ‘nothing is impossible’. There was also another mantra which reflected on agency/Client relationships; ‘Give the Client what they really need, it may not always be what they apparently want’
To do this the trust between agency and Client has to dramatically improve and with this mutual respect. Both have to be earned, but without this agencies and Marketers let each other down and as a result (as we can see from much of today’s work) let the Brand consumers down as well.
The road forward is a challenging one but today’s way of doing things isn’t working and isn’t right. We can do better. We must strive to automate implementation, champion the craft skills of creativity, strategy and applied insight.
We must use data better, and ensure that the data we generate moves with as little friction and as much speed as possible directly into the Client DMP’s and reporting systems to help them run their businesses more efficiently and serve their (our) customers better.
Much much more to follow on this.