Bringing Ad Agency Talent To The Startup World

As an agency we get involved in sports, music, creative projects, so why not startups? For years, big brands and agencies have been on the losing end of disruption as smaller, more nimble startups have upended entire industries. There is a huge opportunity for us to bring the tech development mindset into agency and brand culture.

We don’t need to become technology innovation engines, but there undoubtedly is a need for ongoing collaboration with technology pioneers to build an agency designed for the speed and nature of today’s culture. The future of agencies will still be creative driven, but with more of a goal of driving how brands create new platforms, services, channels or products to engage with customers. There is a big untapped opportunity in encouraging agencies best and brightest to take time away from regular tasks in order to pursue their brainiest ideas.

A commitment to being involved in new startups allows us as agencies to be ahead of the pack, retain talented people, be exposed to new ways of thinking, and forge productive partnerships that can help our clients engage their customers. And most importantly it satisfies our need to reinvent and rethink ways to starve off complacency and re-invigorate constant change.

We need to borrow what’s working from the places where real innovation is occurring: the world of hack-days, collaboration, open-sourcing, accelerators and incubators. We need to create stronger communities that connect the worlds of startups and big brands to encourage people to start and celebrate entrepreneurship. Agencies should act as a breeding ground for creating disruptive ventures by connecting entrepreneurial individuals and creative firepower.

Ad agencies are full of lateral thinkers and entrepreneurial brains — storytellers, salesmen, engineers, and minds that can turn the complicated into a simple truth. So shouldn’t agencies be the best place for new businesses to start? I think so. And here is why. The fact of the matter is that most startups don’t need the money. Founders are looking for the expertise, advice, and connections to drive their answers. This makes advertising agencies the perfect startup incubator or accelerator.

In Silicon Valley, they tend to believe that better products win markets. But over the next several years, marketing, branding and positioning will become more important. Startups don’t just need a minimum viable product, but also a maximum viable brand.

Branding is the most powerful tool. Your brand positioning isn’t about painting a picture of what you are doing right now, it’s about showing people what’s possible. And that is what we are good at as agencies. Having the help of a big agency network to define a clear reason to believe in their startup, wrapping up the main competitive building blocks into a transformational user cases, and figuring out the one thing that they can do well that can play a day-to-day role in the business of agencies & brands.

Agencies can play key role in unlocking the potential of a maximum viable brand to fuel a startups growth. We can also begin to work as a team to invest, build and commercialize companies using our own ideas and resources. Providing an alternative path to nurturing some of the ideas that agency employees have for products, services and strategies. We can let a thousand flowers blossom by nurturing ideas that need a little extra care and attention. Let’s give everyone the opportunity to realize their entrepreneurial dreams at advertising agencies and make the future of advertising a hub to attract the best creative minds in the world looking to capitalize on their innovation desires, further fueling world-class advertising in the process.

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