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May 21, 2013



I agree to a certain extend but not entirely... (No surprise)

The core skill should be brilliant story-telling and this discipline needs to be streamlined to ensure it delivers the highest quality possible.

But the activation of ideas has become so complex, that clients expect their agencies to be as integrated as possible. Agencies or department/disciplines from the same agency/group will find it easier to work seamlessly together than competing agencies. And this will make clients' lives easier, and so it is a valuable proposition.

However, each discipline within an agency need to be at least as good as the specialist ones, if not better, or the value will disappear.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who agree - to a certain degree at least...


Very interesting interview.

Some thoughts:

1) Nick's idea of a triangle (creative agency; media agency implementer/consumer understanding/view of the consumer experience; client - marketing & strategy) sounds like a possible way to organise things.

However, if we look at media agencies I don't feel they actually understand consumers to any great degree. They have good data & good data processing, but many of them seem weak on interpretation.

Perhaps this connects to Nick's thoughts about "a world of things" but to take an example from Maxus' website:

"We are passionate about driving deeper engagement in the new communications landscape.

We are connected to how and why people watch, read, listen, download, interact with and then distribute media to their friends, families and communities.

We keep a step ahead, creating powerful, actionable insights that positively impact the customer decision journey and deliver a clear line of sight to business objectives."

I feel like this is missing half of the brand lifecycle. If agencies are to produce truly effective communications, then they need to be thinking not just about understanding the communications engagement, but also the product engagement. How do people use, interact and share the products/services in question? Without this, we'll continue to see brand managers feeling shortchanged by agency outputs that don't augment the strategy.

2) Business model - it's easy to say "get leaner and fitter and more nimble" but we all know it's harder to do. All the more so when some agencies still making the most money off the old business model. This is perhaps where boutiques are particularly making inroads, are they more geared up for the new fee structures?


First of all, apologies to both Koenieboomboom and Indy_Neogy for the delay in posting your comments! The site got hacked and I had to block all comments whilst I filtered all the spam. Within that nonsense, I discovered your two fantastic comments...

To Koenieboomboom, your point on storytelling is a good one, though it begs the question as to whether the media agency is the agency to deliver on that.

Clients also want agencies to work together, not just for the good of the business, but also because it makes the clients life less stressed - they are human after all. The fascinating thing though is about whether the agencies, as they are shaped now, have a right to exist in the future at all. It is the boutique agency, as Indo Neogy rightly points out too, that is shaping the future model/s and payment structures. It is the little known agency that is defining the boundary of what an 'agency' can do to help the client.

And Indy, your powerfully made point about product engagement is becoming ever more relevant. For me product is communication. The visual cues of colours and logos, the tactile experience of getting to the Toblerone chocolate, the sonic experience of opening a bottle of Grolsch, the entertainment of the Innocent drinks packaging. And then there is, of course, the actual functional/emotional benefits of the actual thing itself. The "Product as Communication" piece of the puzzle will become more evident as we see 'the internet of things' evolve and the products 'communicate with us, with our phones, with our quantified self, and with our wallets.

thanks to both of you

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