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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

The human element. “The agency of the future is a human experience company, one that has a profound understanding of human behaviour,” said Desmond during her Lynx speech.

Hamilton explains that the SMG strategy to move forward revolves around three key pillars, agility, diversity, and digitally focused, and core to this is human experience and content. Keeping that in mind, he says, advertising is fundamentally no different than it was a hundred years ago. “This is still a very human industry,” he says. “And our jobs remain the same; we create connections that captivate our consumers, which results in driving our clients’ business. The only difference now is that the human experience has changed. Those agencies that build a clients’ business around that human change are those that will succeed in the future.”

Consumer engagement is key and common to all agencies looking to move into the future, a movement Hamilton says has been spearheaded by the advent and widespread reach of digital. “It has fundamentally changed the way consumers consume media, how they participate, and how they engage with media. There’s absolutely no doubt that the agency which is able to understand digital and use the platform in the right way with consumers is going to succeed.”

While he is unconvinced over the regional agencies’ response to the changing industry, Wilkins at Naked does agree with this point. “The consumer is very much in command, and I think it’s through technology,” he says. His company’s manifesto reads, “People’s relationships with brands has profoundly changed – the old certainties of marketing are losing relevance. The world of communications has also changed from mass communication with people as passive receivers to tailored communication where people have an active role in the process.”

In other words, agencies today operate in uncertain times and unchartered territory. They are now almost as dependent on the consumer and on technology as they have ever been on the client, budget and product. Both the innocence and simplicity of those 1929 Vicks Va-tro-nol ads is long gone, destroyed by sweeping cultural change and incredible technological developments, and the average agency is having to adapt rapidly to survive.

But whether advocating integration, specialization, or a mix, the agencies we spoke to did seem to agree on one thing when it comes to the agency of the future: The agency of the future must be capable of ongoing and rapid evolution if it is to survive and prosper in the new age.

After all, the only thing now truly certain in the industry is change itself.

First seen in Communicate magazine.

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