Tag Archives: agency landscape

The future of advertising and agencies

This week, the IPA published a report snappily titled Social Media Futures – The future of advertising and agencies in a networked society. A 10-year perspective, the launch of which was covered both by the FT:

Two-thirds of advertising agencies are not prepared for the industry changes prompted by social networks and new forms of digital media

and Campaign:

For agencies used to what one senior executive calls a “broadcast mindset”, the social networking phenomenon and the way it empowers consumers can seem seriously scary. Which makes this week’s warning from the IPA that, when it comes to social media, the majority of agencies “aren’t getting it” all the more disturbing.

The Campaign piece includes some good analysis of the state of play, including this from Mark Collier, Managing Partner at Dare:

Social media should be viewed as a discipline in its own right and doing it properly will require genuine specialists who live and breathe it. But it will need to be closely allied to core marketing strategy and execution if it is to be relevant and effective.

And this from Steve Henry, the former TBWA\London Executive Creative Director:

The current agency model needs rethinking because it’s run out of steam. Remember that a lot of digital agencies are ten years old and you have to ask if they’re flexible enough to seize the opportunities on behalf of clients. Many clients are starting to feel that the agency they need doesn’t exist. That’s to say one that understands the mechanics of social networking as well as delivering the upstream strategy and thinking.

These are the very reasons we set-up We Are Social in June last year (combined with a similar malaise in the PR industry), and I’m confident that what we’re doing addresses Mark and Steve’s concerns head on.

As part of the launch of the report, the IPA also held an event on Monday evening, which Nathan, Sandrine and myself went along to – nicely summed up by PHD’s Dan Hosford:

Essentially, the IPA gathered a group of industry social media champions across agencies & media owners. Then bored them

There’s more detail, if you want it, in posts from Anjali Ramachandran, Graeme Harrison, Amelia Torode and John V Willshire.

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We’re on a Digital Mission to SXSWi

We’re off to Texas! Along with 34 other innovative UK companies, We Are Social is really proud to be selected from over 100 entries as part of the Digital Mission to the SXSWi Conference in Austin, Texas.

As Mike Butcher (also one of the judges) puts it in Techcrunch, the Digital Mission is “a kind of trade mission, but with more sex appeal” to SXSWi, “now a byword for emerging media.”

Digital Mission

Chinwag are organising the Digital Mission for UK Trade & Investment, with the support of sponsors Sun Startup Essentials, Winston & Strawn, and Core Objects. Thanks to them, and the judges: Mike Butcher, Techcrunch UK Editor; Herb Kim, Codeworks CEO; and Sarbjit Bakhshi, Head of Information & Technology Group, UKTI.

It’s great news to start the year with – we’re already looking forward to heading to SXSWi and making the most of this great opportunity. See y’all in Texas!

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How to choose a social media agency

Philip Buxton, the former editor of Revolution, has written a great checklist for brands choosing a social media agency:

  1. A new approach – since everyone claims to ‘do’ social, look for those seeking to develop new models for approaching it, not those seeking to map on their existing models
  2. Technology – everyone claims to have unique talent, to be ‘leading’, to have great clients, and real expertise. Technology, fortunately, can’t be faked, demonstrates genuine investment and expertise, and really can be proprietary and unique. So, which agency has developed/is developing their own technology to support their new approach?
  3. Measurement – the true value of real engagement by brands in social media is really hard to measure. I’ll be dropping my bank as soon as I don’t need them anymore because of the way it treated me when I was a student – good social media strategy will have a similarly long-lasting effect. Nonetheless, some agencies are having a very credible stab at it. Just steer clear of the ones who claim it’s that simple
  4. Existing credentials – being good at something, in my view, is a transferable skill. Muhammad Ali liked to say that if he’d been a dustman (I’m translating of course), he’d have been the best dustman in the world. I believe him. So, is the agency now claiming to be brilliant at social media brilliant at what it already does?
  5. Case studies – trade journalists will tell you that finding people to talk about social media is not a problem. Finding people that have real projects to talk about is a good deal more difficult. What has the agency really done in this area?

My shortlist would be made up only of agencies that tick all five boxes

At We Are Social, we would agree with him…

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Reconsidering the Advertising Industry

What marketing leaders want from their agencies

Alain Thys and Stefan Kolle of Futurelab have published a thought provoking report on the advertising industry:

There is a growing disconnect between what advertising agencies offer, and what their clients are looking for

Although the report is focused on above the line and media agencies, rather than a specialist conversation agency such as ourselves, there’s more than the slide I’ve pulled out above to suggest that the approach we’re taking at We Are Social is what clients both want and need. Judge for yourself:

If that piqued your interest, you should also check out The Connected Agency report from Forrester:

marketers will move to the Connected Agency – one that shifts: from making messages to nurturing consumer connections; from delivering push to creating pull interactions; and from orchestrating campaigns to facilitating conversations.

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W+K hires a search specialist

Though I recently wrote a post about digital creative agencies and search, Andrew Walmsley reiterated that search is advertising and Iain Tait wrote a piece on URLs being out and search being in in offline advertising, I wasn't expecting this – Wieden + Kennedy have hired a director of search:

We're getting invested in this because we think creativity in search is an area that hasn't been exploited at all," said Renny Gleeson, global director of digital strategies for Wieden.

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The Rise of The Ad Man 2.0

Iain Tait with a must read post, prompted by the must watch The Rise and Fall of the Ad Man, asking:

assuming that the time is right, what would you do to create a brand new agency, like they did in the 60s?

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An overview of the agency landscape in 2007

Campaign has a great overview of what 2007 looked like for above the line, media, digital and direct agencies. It is a must read…

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The end of the line

Michael Weston makes a valid point:

Let's not obsess about that line any more. Let's think instead about the line between acquisition and retention. I think this is a much more meaningful line, and the crossover point is the moment of 'conversion'

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Digital creative agencies and search shops

LBi's recent acquisition of Netrank, follows AKQA's acquisition of SearchRev, Syzygy's acquisition of Unique Digital and Engine's merger of Meme, Eyefall and DC Interact to create Altogether (and in a reverse of the trend, iCrossing acquiring Proxicom). Digital creative agencies seem to be merging with search shops left right and centre. What's going on?

Only as far back as October 2006, all the buzz was about traditional media agencies moving into the search space and if anything, the buying of the search specialists was going to be by the very same media agencies. Then in October last year, Media Week covered the issue of why search agencies were hot, but giving us no clues as to why the sudden interest from digital creative agencies.

Is this purely a financial opportunity being exploited, with the plan to use the same account management teams for both creative and search, along with the chance to cross sell services to clients? Or is it something more – the signs of a synergy between creative and search that's been thus far unapparent? Does anyone have any ideas?

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Online PR is more important that offline PR

A wake up-call for the complacent PR industry:

Pollsters surveyed 1,000 people – Among those aged 15 to 44, it found that 45 per cent read online news on a daily basis. Only 38 per cent of this age group read nat­ional newspapers every day. The figures are the starkest warning yet to the industry that it can no longer afford to rely on traditional forms of media relations.

And it is not as if online PR wasn't important anyway

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