One of the biggest problem with the agencies out there is to how to manage the present and plan for the future. Historically, agencies were responsible for message development and delivery of a marketing campaign. Marketers would hire agencies to create a 30-second spots, place them on TV and in magazines and hope for the best. The always ON, real time consumers have made present extremely complicated to manage. People’s expectations have far exceeded the technology. Brands are on a look out for agencies who can manage the present and have the DNA to evolve for the future. So what makes an agency a dream agency?
Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, notably said, “In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish. It’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.” Speed is the new currency of business and is the most common differentiator among competitors. Reputation is no longer decided by size but by how fast one is able to adjust himself to changing customer needs. Gone are the days when it was assumed that one can pick only two from famous management triangle — Fast, good and cheap. A combination of all the three is the new table stake. Cheap at times leads to negative connotation but in my mind cheap is all about efficiency. The new world demands that businesses should always be in a state of continuous experiment and a good experiment must always be fast and efficient. The whole intent of digital transformation is all about reorganizing the business to speed up. A dream agency will be able to think ideas that will be fast, good and cheap.
Talent has no gender, race and religion. It has become more important than capital, strategy, or R&D. Talented people can come up with bright ideas, can execute it better and have the ability to develop others. A creative agency core offering is creativity and creativity is a domain of humans. Creative talent these days is easily allured by Startups offering equal or better salaries than agencies with more perks and chances to get equity. Brands are taking design and development in-house to ensure better control. All creative folks have innate desire to create an impact on the world and continue to do new work. An agency is the best place to offer such an opportunity. To innovate, brands will need a good mix of traditional and non-traditional talent. A dream agency will attract, retain and nurture new talent. They will offer a creative, diverse and equal opportunity environment to do great work. Talent management will be one of top most priority of a dream agency.
Most of the great ideas are crazy in the beginning. There is considerable risk involved in building them up. Clients are often reactive and risk-adverse, they want something after everyone else has done it to death. It requires considerable courage and self-belief to stand up against and say NO to mediocre ideas. A dream agency will have a culture of openness, it will have the appetite to take risks and embrace failure. This is no easy feat. Most of us have matured in an environment which is risk averse. We first plan for risk mitigation. The cultural shift from punishing the failure to learn from failure will help the agency stand out in the pack and allow brands to constantly innovate.
Collaboration powers speed and efficiency. The historical model of brand and an ecosystem of vendors were created before the advent of internet and mobile and it must change to reflect the new reality. A dream agency will partner with brands to create a contextual, continuous and complimentary experience. Success and failure will be shared equally. A dream agency structure will be organized around a unified vision to maximize client success. They will motivate and incentivize behaviors that will break silos in the organization. The Digital era calls for a relook at the classical organization structure. The hierarchal structure will be flattened in the dream agency to make available every ounce of creativity to brands. They will endlessly strive to find creative shortcuts to enable brands to constantly experiment and match the pace of change.
The need to transform is not just restricted to businesses and brands but it is equally applicable to creative agencies as well. It is the right time for creative agencies to Re-think the Ad Agency to Transform the Creative.