We’ve lost our way.
In our immediacy obsessed, connected world it seems that the agency has begun to lose it’s way.
It strikes me as odd that we often encounter clients who have a roster of agencies, get that they need to change to better align with the reality of todays consumer, but nothing seems to be happening. Why is this?
It’s worth taking a step back at this point.
I’ve got a particular interest in the late 60’s early 70’s period in advertising. For those of you that don’t know this was when planning, strategy and importantly rigour was brought into the process by visionaries like Stepehen King and Stanley Pollitt. It signalled an evolution where the social sciences began to play a vital role in shaping the all important creative brief. Why? Because it meant the work was more focused and more likely to succeed as the creatives had a better grasp of the challenge and true insights to work with, in short they got to the truth.
From this point forward the blueprint was pretty much secured for the agency of record model. However the agency of record has gone out of favour these days, with clients prefering a roster of agencies for project based work. To do this though we’ve had to loose something along the way and to me it seems like we’ve lost a vital element that’s more important today than it ever was.
If we accept that to deliver a unifromly excellent customer expereince we need to stick to the elements that make up good integrated communications, namely:
Then it seems counter-intuitive to have a marketing set-up and agency roster that focuses on the tactical delivery at the expense of a strategic overview? Now i’m not arguing that we go back to the days of bloated retainers, that ship’s sailed. What I am arguing is that if clients are going to work with agencies, and we think they should, to deliver omni-channel communications in a holistic ecosystem then someone has to manage that. Someone has to take the lead, whether that’s strategically, creatively or through technology. It creates a strong overriding case for an agency model that sits above channels, managing the strategic direction, creating the long idea that works on mulitple channels and defining how technology enhances the customer experience. For that very reason we totally re-thought what an agency should be and designed lean full service.
History is full of what not to do’s but it’s also full of what to do’s. I’m a firm believer that King and Pollitt created something that is equally relevant to todays world, emphasising rigour, understanding and strategy. In short an unerving desire to get to the truth. I think is especially relevant today as the world has become increasingly complex, to me we should be championing these values not sacrificing them for a suck it and see mentality.