What is the future of an agency?

27 Sep

Just got back from Firestarters 3 hosted at Google UK on St Giles Street. Curated by Neil Perkins from Only Dead Fish, this evening’s session involved talks from the leading agencies in Digital, Creative and Communications to cover the over-arching question, what is the future role of an agency?

Many of  today’s thoughts echoed my own in a way I couldn’t articulate. Until now. The day of the traditional media company is changing at a pace we are yet to catch up with. Buying into mass media space and ideas is decreasing and it’s blindingly obvious why if you stop to think about it. Since the Mad Men era the volume of brands, billboards and places to advertise have grown at an incredible rate. Us, as a society, are by and large brand blind. We see thousands (roughly around 6,000) of brands a day and our simple minds are not geared to absorb so much information in such a short space of time.  So if jumping and shouting “look at me, you can be me” no longer works a new approach to communications is in order.

The new kind of agency OS demands content driven strategies, an area typically outsourced or white-labelled. Social media listening, community management & content creation are all areas we need to become more accustomed too. As brand awareness becomes further diluted we need to learn how to connect in more intelligent ways. Agencies have a tendency to forget we are a service agency at the core, yet this is completely what we are. We service, but not just to clients. We now have two masters; clients and consumers. We think “how can we make our clients happy?” but this should be shifting to “how do we satisfy our customers?” I have a grudging saying – A happy wife is a happy life – and this rings true with digital marketing. We should be thinking how we can service our fans.

The short of this is it is all about value. Get useful or get entertaining. Whichever garden path you wish to go down it is essential to be providing something of value to your community who will in return pay you back be it sales, advocacy or some other worth.


One Response to “What is the future of an agency?”


  1. Google #Firestarters 3: Building A New Agency OS « BBH Labs - September 30, 2011

    […] several thought provoking response posts (check out this one here from Simon Kendrick or this one here from Shea Warnes for starters). As always, Neil’s follow-up post will be one to look out for […]

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