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Do Brands Need Agencies? | Face Forum, Nov 09

Following on from the success of our Web 2.0 Women forum earlier this year we thought it was about time we opened up another hot topic for debate. The last Face Forum revolved around the key question ‘Do Brands Need Agencies?’ On the 18th of November we have been joined by friends, experts and clients at the Groucho club to discuss the following topics…

The real-time social web has changed the way we communicate giving us the tools to get and share information at a pace we have not experienced before. This has made the web the richest insight field we have ever had. How can you harness the power of the world wide wave for research, brand planning and brand engagement? What are real-time research and adaptive brand planning? And how can they help your brand stay relevant?

Barely a day goes by without a website, campaign or competition cropping up, promising to harness the collective wisdom of crowds for the benefit of brands. Peperami even ditched Lowe to ask the crowds. But is bottom-up really enough? When did crowdsourcing cease to be a means to an end and become an end in itself? Join us to discuss a hybrid model where crowd-sourcing and co-creation are used as complementary methodologies.

We asked 3000 19 to 25 years old young adults about their consumption habits, media and tech diet. The Forum will be the place where we present our latest Techtribe report, uncovering youth trends that will soon start migrating to other audiences

It was a great night! Here's the presentation that kick-started the discussion

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Do Brands Need Agencies? | Face Forum, Nov 09

  1. do brands really need agencies? face forum, november 2009, london
  2. setting some of the context with a few edited highlights from our 2009 Tech Tribe report into attitudes and behaviour of 18-25 year olds
  3. 18-25 important not because young adults are representative today… but because they are early adopters and do represent the future…
  4. some key themes from our tech tribe 2009 report online is not just another channel – it represents the world that young people live in just as we have started to get to grips with the ‘web’ so it changes from being a place that people go to a place that is all around us all of the time contribution to social media still growing but genuine content creation remains pretty stable Influence of inner (my friends) and rapid changes in attitudes outer circle (the internet) on and behaviour due to purchase continues to grow recession
  5. …‘online’ starting to catch up with ‘offline’ across all types of content consumption
  6. …reading newspaper & magazines is first to tip from ‘offline’ to digital…. what’s next? 76% watched TV spending more time reading newspapers & online (up from 45% magazines digitally in 2008) than on paper spending an average of 58% downloaded films to 30 minutes a day watch online (up from watching TV online 38% in 2008)
  7. …and a new generation that will be always on – they don’t go to the web, the web comes to them 58%* have used up from 50% in 2008 (41% in 2006) mobile to access the internet 25% use mobile internet up from 5% in 2008 every day *and handset functionality & cost are the main barriers at the moment
  8. …so far mobile internet use mirrors some aspects of ‘traditional’ online behaviour 67%* social networking 66% email 60% finding places 57% information * of those who have used mobile internet at all
  9. …but there are some interesting new applications on the horizon Skype / IM (50% used / intend next 12 months) Other Apps (45%) Video-Messaging (40%) Geo-Tagging (40%) Twitter (30%) Augmented Reality (20%) * of those who have used mobile internet at all
  10. …contribution to social media still growing but the number of true content creators remains relatively stable
  11. …around 4 in 5 are actively engaged in some kind of social media
  12. …around 3 in 5 will actively read other people’s blogs, forum posts and reviews
  13. …around 3 in 10 will contribute to the internet by commenting, adding to forums, posting ratings or reviews
  14. …around 2 in 10 will genuinely build the internet through blogs, their own websites & uploading their own videos this has edged upwards from around 15% in 2007 but it is still a case of a minority (albeit substantial) talking to the majority
  15. …but when it comes to influence on purchase, young people are heavily influenced by the conversations going on in their inner circle 93% are influenced by what friends tell them
  16. …but the outer circle is becoming increasingly influential too 85% are influenced by what they read or hear generally online (up from 70% in 2008)
  17. …twitter is not being used by everybody (contrary to its media status only around 2 in 10 young people have used it) these young people have used twitter this year
  18. …compared to the (continuing for now) primacy of facebook this person isn’t even on facebook!
  19. …but social media behaviour doesn’t stand still 66% have made their social network more private 55% have cut back on their friends /become more picky about who they accept as friends 32% are using social networks less
  20. …behaviour change fast – how quickly can brands respond? 80% say the recession has changed the way they think about the future 67% paying special attention to promotions and special offers 56% staying in with friends more rather than going out 52% taking food they have made at home to work, school or college
  21. attitudes change quickly, how quickly can we respond? 70% agree that quality is more important than quantity in today’s climate 54% started to only buy things I really need now backlash against 15 minutes of fame culture – only 12% agree that fame is desirable
  22. what this means in 2010 and beyond?
  23. evolved consumers huge untapped creative potential
  24. empowered consumer quick, easy, cheap ways for voicing your opinion, super connected, always on
  25. participatory culture ...way beyond media and consumption
  26. post-consumer era “this is not a question of scale. It is a different way of existing” J.Murdoch
  27. omnivorous remix/review “it is no longer about what your brand does to the consumer but what consumers are doing to and with your brand” Mark Earls
  28. “where the truth lies”
  29. not only trust in ads has fallen but also its structural capacity of generating influence (reach) media clutter
  30. sea of niches personalization, diversification, fragmentation, niches culture, tailored approach
  31. always in beta personalization and diversification also mean that systems are getting flexible and adaptive to incorporate the users input
  32. around me: pull NOT push fragmentation also means the new and only potential center is now “me”
  33. rise of the real-time collective mind getting information that’s relevant to who I am, where I am and what I’m up to sharing information with the right people, at the right time, in the right way
  34. It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure (c. shirky) But filters are getting better
  35. ambient model continuous togetherness
  36. and now these conversations are moving offline
  37. stop calling it new media and digital it’s here and everywhere
  38. how is marketing [still] responding to all this?
  39. ivory tower mentality
  40. consumers don’t really know what they want
  41. still dreaming of raising the perfect consumer
  42. consumers as passive respondents
  43. campaigns consumers engage with brands every day why should brands engage with them quarterly?
  44. one size fits all supposedly consistency... actually, blindness to organic diversity
  45. command & control
  46. monolithic brands
  47. planning in silos
  48. not invented here syndrome
  49. asynchronous mode
  50. the world has changed marketing, branding and the “agency model” haven’t changed that much...
  51. in s ig ht ra d io agencies in t pr brand agency brand tv insight new exp on lin e channels new consumers
  52. marketing : social media = tin pan alley : rocknroll
  53. how do we move away from this model?
  54. social media is NOT another channel is the platform where all media converge and the glue between brands and consumers +insights +idea generation +testing & validation +distribution +wom & advocacy
  55. brand don’t own the space anymore, consumers own it strategy should be built around them not around the brand
  56. It’s just people not alien “consumers”
  57. stop thinking of “the others”
  58. it’s all about immersion
  59. tapping into the richest insight field, free, spontaneous, always up-to-date
  60. consumers as partners
  61. the web as world’s largest creative department
  62. continuous engagement, not campaigns
  63. conversations and relationships, NOT messages
  64. cross-media experience-driven not channel-driven
  65. one size doesn’t fit all 1000 heads for 1000 msgs
  66. agile branding responding to change over following a plan [adaptive brand planning]
  67. old vs new model consumers people observation immersion respondents partners messages relationships campaigns story one size niche tailored channels experiences silos collaboration monolithic adaptive
  68. From this… in s ig ht ra d io agencies in t pr brand agency brand tv insight exp on lin e channels consumers
  69. To this… ra di social media we b o ide as ts igh people ins tv brand brand agency print id ea s ts gh si in p ex n ie facilitate channels t mb a brands
  70. Fast Company predicts "Ad agency executive" to be among six jobs that won't exist in 2016
  71. but is it really all about bottom-up and crowd engagement?
  72. some reactions... “only works with a simple and well-defined brand” “I don’t want 1000 ideas, I want one really good one” “you won’t get a collaborative process” “you need to have arguments” “crowd-sourcing doesn’t lend itself to the big idea” “no access to strategy or insight” “all you get is a bunch of one-off ads”
  73. let’s take a step back
  74. what you get +bottom-up richness +global crowd +diversified crowd +wider range of talent +cost-effective +lots of ideas +rich insight +consumer-brand relationship +peer-rating +buzz
  75. what’s missing -it’s many-to-one -not very targeted -it’s bottom-up but still vertical -access to insight and strategy (confidentiality) -collaboration -editing, building on, refining -funneling process -face-to-face -strategic thinking
  76. bottom up is not enough “the bottom-up mind will take us much further, but will never take us to the end goal” (kevin kelly) Crowd-sourcing needs to be part of a bigger process
  77. let’s take a look at another approach
  78. co-creation Is the act of company stakeholders collaborating directly with selected (usually smaller) groups of consumers to work on a specific brief. Is about leveraging consumers’ creativity without preempting the results of the process Can take place on-line in communities or/and offline in workshops
  79. what you get +few-to-few-to-one +more targeted +bottom-up and top-down +collaboration, editing, building on +refinement and funneling +online & face-to-face +access to insight and strategy (confidentiality) +strategic thinking +faster process +immersive +robust and tailored concepts
  80. what’s missing [compared to crowdsourcing] -smaller crowd -local -less diversification -fewer ideas -more expensive than crowd-sourcing
  81. the case for a hybrid model bottom-up + top-down crowds + individuals group thinking + individual thinking
  82. the hybrid model consumer crowd-sourcing co-creation immersion listen plan engage measure download workshop
  83. bottom-up consumer crowd-sourcing co-creation immersion listen plan engage measure download workshop top down
  84. the hybrid model consumer crowd-sourcing co-creation immersion listen plan engage measure download workshop No longer a linear process but a loop
  85. a new habitat requires a new species (RT @samreid420)
  86. in other words, short answer is: maybe
  87. or not