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Agency Future - One Year On


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A very much condensed presentation of what I've learned in the last year researching the evolution of the creative agency.

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Agency Future - One Year On

  1. 1. Agency Future<br />
  2. 2. I won a travel grant awarded annually by the Danish Association of Ad Agencies. <br />I called the project Agency Future - it would be an investigation of emerging business models in the ad industry.<br />
  3. 3. The backstory<br />
  4. 4. I left journalism to become a copywriter.<br />Out of the frying pan, into the fire…<br />
  5. 5. …I left one industry experiencing <br />massive change and joined another.<br />The disruptive force of the internet was the cause in both.<br />
  6. 6. The Agency Future project would symbolise this disruption.<br />
  7. 7. The project is a blog and the content is interviews with people shaping the future of our industry.<br />
  8. 8. + many other guest contributors and clients<br />
  9. 9. The project is also a Twitter feed (with over 900 followers).<br />
  10. 10. And the project is also a resource with over 100 #agencyfuture links publically viewable on Delicious.<br />
  11. 11. What have I learned?<br /><ul><li>Yes, new business models are emerging (crowdsourcing, owned IPs etc)
  12. 12. But their emergence can be seen more as a reflection of the gradual erosion of the regular, production-heavy model
  13. 13. The real change is the growing realisation that in today’s world, the answer to clients’ problems is rarely better advertising</li></li></ul><li>‘The conversation has changed from, ‘what do we want to tell the consumer about our brand’, to ‘what does the consumer desire/need/expect from the brand?’<br />Scott MelinCEO of Factory Design Labs<br />
  14. 14. To quote Made By Many <br />co-founder William Owen…<br />‘The future of advertising is not advertising’.<br />
  15. 15. ‘Marketing in the future is like sex. Only the losers will have to pay for it’<br />Jon Bond<br />cofounder of Kirschenbaum Bond Senecal<br />
  16. 16. So what is the mindset of the agency of the future?<br />
  17. 17. Create Stuff that <br />has a right to exist <br />In people’s lives<br />Henry Chilcott, Managing Partner - Antidote<br />
  18. 18. Rapha pop-up shops by Antidote<br />
  19. 19. Antidote were asked to raise the profile of the cycling performancewear brand Rapha – it suggested pop-up cafes in New York and London to coincide with the Tour De France and beyond. The result was a massive upsurge in awareness and sales. <br />
  20. 20. Burberry’s Art of the Trench - ‘A living document of the Burberry trench and the people who wear it.’ In sync with the participatory dynamic of much successful contemporary brand communication and successfully positioned Burberry in the burgeoning street style movement. Earned an estimated 6.8m in PR coverage and increased trench sales by 85%.<br />
  21. 21. Domaination by Converse > Make the campaign a game<br />Click to play ><br />
  22. 22. New agency behaviours<br />
  23. 23. Hire Creative technologists<br />
  24. 24. The copywriter/AD team is arguably no longer fit for purpose in a communications landscape utterly transformed by digital channels. Many agencies are now employing creative technologists and reporting successful integration.<br />
  25. 25. Learn to collaborate<br />
  26. 26. Many of the agencies I spoke to found strength in their networks. There was a refreshing realism at work, with both Anomaly and Made by Many readily acknowledging that ‘they couldn’t possibly know it all’ but were prepared to work with whoever necessary to solve their clients’ problems.Indeed, agencies are collaborating even when not solving specific client problems. Dentsu London and Berg have recently worked on a series of films, speculating on the future of media. The results are beautiful and thought-provoking:<br />
  27. 27. Become an authority<br />
  28. 28. Made by Many’s recent Signals experiment is a good example of this. Existing alongside their regular blog but fulfilling a more specific function in terms of positioning the agency as invested in particular topics. A lot of their work revolves around content provision so their Future of News and Future of Television signals are especially apt. The signals are ‘streams of content and analysis around the big themes they think are exciting and urgent’.Leading and shaping the debate around these ‘big themes’ is an increasingly important way for agencies to market themselves and increase their visibility. Today’s hyperconnected world makes it easy for clients to see who the real authorities are.<br />
  29. 29. Become futureproof<br />
  30. 30. Of the agencies I spoke with only BBH have gone so far as to set up an actual ‘Labs’ entity within their organisation, but all agreed with the necessity of constant innovation and keeping up with technological and behavioural changes.The job of an agency Lab is to explore new expressions of creativity, and to act as a scout for the rest of the agency – pulling it into the future.To quote Mel Exxon, founding partner of BBH Labs: ‘The role of Labs here boils down to two things, I think - 1. Reducing complexity (new stuff can look and feel labyrinthine at the outset, it helps to have a few scouts) and 2. Accelerating the transfer of knowledge.’<br />
  31. 31. Learn leanness<br />
  32. 32. Made by Many describe themselves as ‘thinking like a start-up’.It’s an attitude that many more established agencies may need to adopt in the near future as clients continue to drive down billings and means of production continue to get cheaper. An early example comes in the form of co:Describing itself as a brand innovation studio, co: has assembled a network of best-in-class specialist agencies from which it can assemble teams to solve any brief. Co: itself remains lean and nimble, with minimal overheads.<br />
  33. 33. ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’<br />Marcel Proust<br />
  34. 34. @Aaron78<br />Thankyou!<br />@AgencyFuture<br />
  35. 35.<br />