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The agency of the future, Part II

The agency of the future, Part II

The pace of change in the industry has become so fast it’s hard to know what’s next. Communicate asks regional marketers to gaze into their crystal balls, Part II.

June 8, 2009 8:19 by

Click here to see Part I.

Whether they’re calling it integration, a 360 approach, or a new corporate strategy, agencies in Dubai like MCN Media, Memac Ogilvy & Mather, and AGA ADK are pulling their units together to adapt to the changing consumer, and client, environment.

“What we’ve done within our 360 offering is we have completely different units that cater to specific requirements,” says Memac Ogilvy & Mather’s Howes, who stresses the 360 approach is only applied to those clients who demand it. “We have the advertising agency, an activation unit, a direct marketing unit, interactive and digital, and a PR unit, all under the Ogilvy umbrella. So when a client has a requirement, he can talk to one person and that person then fans out the different tasks. So based on the requirement that the client has, maybe PR will lead, and will coordinate with any other discipline if there’s a need.”

Roger Sahyoun, president and CEO of AGA ADK, launched a new corporate strategy for his agency to ring in the new year, with an aggressive plan to face all problems head on. The strategy was accompanied by the announcement that all AGA ADK units would be coming together under one holding group. “All of our units at AGA ADK are under one umbrella; they work independently but they are integrated,” he says.

Think tank. But it’s about more than just bringing units together under one roof and working with clients. Those who have adopted integrated approaches say the goal is to achieve integrative thinking; to create a more open and neutral space for idea generation. “It’s a chemistry thing,” explains Howes. “I don’t want to limit what people’s contributions are based on where they sit within their disciplines.”

And Sahyoun says the integration of AGA ADK Advertising & Marketing, Pencell PR & Events and E-AGA has a strong positive affect on the flow and quality of ideas, by getting all units to brainstorm together. “We’re giving a total, global solution,” he says. “This is where we see ourselves as a force; one strong sell.”

And at SMG, Hamilton echoes his views. “I think clients in the region predominantly want a one-stop-shop. I don’t think that’s any more or less sophisticated than just having a boutique agency … We have the ability and luxury to offer all different types of services so our clients can save time, can leverage the efficiencies, and really give us greater control over their brand. The service is fully integrated.”

At MCN, Menon says the agency also goes by integrative thinking, in keeping with the evolving needs of clients and consumers. But that doesn’t mean he advocates coming to his agency for all marketing problems; Menon encourages clients to get different agencies with different strengths together in order to ensure an efficient solution.

“Given all the complexity today, you can’t break the puzzle and solve it sequentially like you did in the past,” he says. “It requires people from different disciplines and perspectives to come together and think of the client’s marketing problem. That’s integrative thinking. It seems simple, but it’s a very big deal. Clients should put all the companies they are working with in the same room for hours and give them the same brief, so they can hear the problem at the same time. ”

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