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5 Revolutionary Ideas for the Agency of the Future.

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The future of the agency was the subject of a panel discussion
hosted by the Toronto Chapter of the American Marketing
Association. The speakers had a great number of insightful ideas to share, but we took away five big ideas.

Published in: Marketing
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5 Revolutionary Ideas for the Agency of the Future.

  1. 1. 5 REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS FOR THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE marumatchbox.com sales@marumatchbox.com @marumatchbox TORONTO NEW YORK CHICAGO SAN FRANCISCO LOS ANGELES VANCOUVER
  2. 2. The agency world needs to be torn apart and rebuilt into more fluid, shape shifting forms. According to five leading thinkers from across the agency landscape in Canada, the new way requires transformative thinking, new skill sets, flexible structures and a redefinition of what media and creative are and how they work together. The future of the agency was the subject of a panel discussion hosted by the Toronto Chapter of the American Marketing Association. The speakers had a great number of insightful ideas to share, but we took away five big ideas.
  3. 3. 1. UNLEASH THE MEANINGS OF CREATIVITY AND MEDIA Franke Rodriguez, Partner/CEO Anomaly New York and Toronto Franke argues for a complete rethink of the two most common words in the agency vocabulary: “creative” and “media”. He defines creativity as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations.” “The key to our progress with clients has been unleashing the real power of key words often (mis)used in marketing: creative and media”. - Franke Rodriguez Some of the examples of creative thinking Franke offers is the idea of “customers who bought this item also bought” made famous by Amazon. “This is creativity— no Cannes Lion, just billions of dollars”, Franke states. He also cites Dyson’s vacuum technology, Uber’s harnessing of location technology to create UberX and UberEats, and the way wearables have gamified sport. 25 REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS FOR THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE Creativity is about the business, not the way a piece of content looks: “Harnessing this broader, more powerful understanding of creativity is what’s truly exciting”. “Everything is media” he asserts. We need to get past traditional notions of media buys and think about how we can connect people and brands. He also draws the attention to Spotify’s creation of highly localized playlists (like the Squirrel Spotting playlist for Trinity Bellwood’s Park) as an example of how “creative use of data can maximize contextual relevance” and also how an idea can transcend traditional notions of what is “media” and what is “creative”. He also mentions Anomaly’s “Red Light” campaign for Budweiser in Canada, in particular citing an effort where they created a 20-foot-tall red goal light, like scorers use in hockey games. Representatives of Budweiser drove this giant red light across Canada and up to the North Pole where it went off every time Team Canada scored in the World Cup. In this case the “creative” was not a traditional ad, but a red light that changed the way people experience games. It was also fodder for more traditional ads, but even they managed to subvert the usual paradigm by simultaneously selling Budweiser and the goal lights, as well as linking Budweiser to super fandom and Canadian patriotism. What was “media” was also upended by this campaign. People installed these goal lights in their homes where they served as permanent advertisements. The North Pole stunt also generated tremendous public relations coverage. It was also “covered” in an ad which ran on the most traditional media buy, a Super Bowl ad. For Franke Rodriguez, the future is rethinking what is creative and what is media.
  4. 4. 35 REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS FOR THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE 2. PUT THE IDEA FIRST Daniel Shearer, EVP and General Manager Cossette Ontario and West According to Daniel Shearer, the sole focus for any agency should be “connecting people and brands in meaningful ways”. When people have that as their vision, it becomes possible to look beyond the way things are currently done. Don’t think about the media buy or agency structure, or the usual client/agency relationship. Daniel suggests thinking about ways you can connect with customers and consider “the entire customer experience as the brand”. Daniel proposes that by “developing ideas and deployment as one” you can think through ways of working that transcend the traditional approach. It opens the door to more holistic thinking about how an idea can be expressed. By putting the idea first, you are free to “not allow legacy beliefs or structures to get in the way of tremendous output”. It’s no small task for agencies to change legacy beliefs and structures, but for Daniel Shearer putting the idea first is the future of agencies. “Deployment can be the gasoline on the flame”. - Daniel Shearer
  5. 5. 45 REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS FOR THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE 3. EMBRACE THAT INFLUENCE HAS BEEN INVERTED Andrew Simon, CCO, Edelman Historically, influence and authority went hand-in-hand. People with authority had better access to information. They were the informed public, and this, along with their position of power and privileged educational background, granted them influence. Today, this classic pyramid of influence has been flipped upside down. People no longer rely on a few well-informed opinion shapers for news and information. Instead traditional media is often reporting on what is happening on social media. The elites are now listening to the everyman. As a result, we have a new pyramid of influence, where the broader population has more influence than those with authority, creating a real challenge for those in positions of power and authority who need to find new ways of engaging and influencing opinions. It pays for companies to develop a long term relationship with these “everyman” influencers. For companies, that means rethinking how they reach out to influencers and how they focus their promotional investments. Failure to do so will mean failure to have influence, he warns. Andrew speaks to the revolution of “brands as publishers” and points to “Upstanders: a Starbucks Original Series” as a great example of the inversion of influence and the radical impact of rethinking the role of public relations, advertising, and media buying. “Upstanders is an original collection of short stories, films and podcasts sharing the experiences of Upstanders – ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities”, according to the Upstander website. For Andrew Simon and this upending of the traditional agency role, public relations is no longer relegated to the “kids table” when it comes to deciding how to reach the public. Public relations now has an important role to play in the future of the agency. “The media landscape is both imploding and exploding”. - Andrew Simon
  6. 6. 55 REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS FOR THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE 4. WORKING WITH THE CLIENT AS A PARTNER THROUGHOUT THE CREATIVE AND PRODUCTION PROCESS Matt Lewis, President Momentum Worldwide Matt Lewis characterizes the changing agency/client relationship as, “from marriage to dating”, noting that many firms are moving away from long term relationships to using agencies for project based work. “Clients are questioning the value” of the old methods of working. Rather than just decry this trend and move to a more transactional relationship with clients, Matt suggests we embrace a new way of connecting with clients—a deeper, more interactive relationship where clients and the agency work together as a team. “More than ever, clients want to be involved in creating the end product”. - Matt Lewis He endorses moving away from the traditional model of the agency; getting a brief and then going away, doing the work, and then involving the client again only at “the big unveil”. He recommends involving clients throughout the process, in all phases. This results in a stronger client relationship and better work overall, citing the example of his agency’s work with Nike. “When we create an experience for Nike, not only are there multiple issue sessions, when we’re in the production office it is littered with clients and agency partners, actually working on something together, with specialized roles”. This interactive and intertwined relationship is the model of the future for clients and agencies. For Matt Lewis, embracing this kind of model means we “don’t need to fear the revolution”, we can “be ready for it”.
  7. 7. 65 REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS FOR THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE 5. INTERTWINE MEDIA AND CREATIVE Alexandra Panousis, Formerly CEO at Starcom MediaVest Alexandra Panousis warns “Advertising is an oligopoly, ripe for disruption”. She quotes Goodby Silverstein’s Andy Grayson and Graham North’s characterization of the advertising world as “…mega-conglomerates stamping out original thought, stifling the best minds, and forcing a flood of talent to seek fulfillment in other industries”. The media world is ripe for change. “Commodity media prices” have turned the business into a “rate game that has hit rock bottom”. She laments that “every pitch equals lowers fees” and warns that this is simply “not sustainable”. The personalization of media creates a new and deep interdependence between media and creativity. This will upend the existing world order and create opportunities for those who can adapt and rethink their business models. The days of a creative director and copywriter creating the “big ad” are numbered, and she suggests that the type of talent required will be very different in the years to come. The challenge will be “content automation” and this will produce a “desperate need for new skills”. Alexandra predicts that the industry will need to attract legions of “coders, developers and analysts”. For Alexanda Panousis, those who master an understanding of the user experience will be the winners in the new world of advertising. Looking ahead over the next ten years she sees four things that will change everything: 1. Connected: all media will become digital; 2. Precise: all digital will become addressable; 3. Automated: all addressable will become programmatic; 4. 1:1 at Scale: All programmatic will become personalized. Source: Alexandra Panousis, Formerly CEO at Starcom MediaVest - Toronto Chapter of the American Marketing Association Event Presentation Deck
  8. 8. It’s clear that the agency world is undergoing a revolution. Here we have a great exposé of the challenges and the transforming forces at play. We also have brilliant suggestions for ways forward in this brave new world. You have been warned. Bon chance. marumatchbox.com sales@marumatchbox.com @marumatchbox TORONTO NEW YORK CHICAGO SAN FRANCISCO LOS ANGELES VANCOUVER

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