Sitting on the driver’s window
The disruptive force of technology has no limits or obstacles. Invades all economic segments, professions and activities. It affects the heart of business, recreates entire industries, changes behaviors and mentality. And it doesn’t stop. It runs on challenges, it anticipates and builds responses. Questions are not lacking - this is the only guarantee of the new times.
Obviously, the advertising market would not be immune to this revolution. They have changed their delivery, their way of working and making money to the point that it is not so simple to bet on the future of the agencies or what the agency of the future will be. Large or small, specialists or generalists, internal or external? We no longer even know if they will continue to be called by that name.
Advertisers are seated in the driver's window – they watch and lead, as far as possible, drastic changes in their ecosystem. At first, by offering digital design and marketing, agencies were bought by consulting groups that sought to improve their ability to pack projects. Making them more appealing and understandable was the way to make marketing more sensitive, which is on the rise in companies at the expense of technology and finance sectors. It was quickly realized that the creative contribution is much more than pure cosmetics. Agencies are by bold craft and promoters of innovation – which is why their role within consulting firms is likely to gain prominence. It is too early to see actual results of this marriage. There is a risk that the preponderance of consultants - who are the ball owners in the vast majority of cases - dull the agencies' inventiveness. Or they can add up to the right size with their procedural approach and engineering vision. Time will tell.
Customers have also changed – by the way, it was they who stimulated the union of agencies and consulting companies. Brands that are consecrated globally have already reached a high level of efficiency. Increasing processes and results is no longer enough. The challenge now is to create new revenue models, break paradigms and be as competitive as a startup, driving innovation with agility. Paradoxically, the best attack has been a defense: many companies incubate and accelerate projects that could end up destroying them.
Nobody wants to be the next victim of the disruption like the hotel, phonographic and photographic segments. The inspiration comes from Tesla Motors, the automaker that has become the most valuable on the market (despite small production and tradition) for anticipating the future: electric and autonomous cars. Elon Musk, the owner, undertakes this and other businesses - such as rocket making - in a startup rhythm in Silicon Valley. He gets a head start, agile and, therefore, with lean investment. His musculature does not weigh, on the contrary, it drives him.
Projects as robust as they are slow, in the old modus operandi of the consultants, they are a card out of the deck. The refresh can come from the agencies. As flexible and airy organizations, they instigate the change customers need. Or that they will need. The only thing though is that delivering the great idea of the year is not enough anymore. Completing the cycle, materializing transformative visions into profitable operations, is the new ideal customer world. It is a fact that consultancies help in this aspect.
The agencies next frontier is the operation of solutions developed with payment obtained from concrete results. In a context of lean advertising, reinventing business models by seeking sustainability will be imperative, if not the only way out. And at this point we will face another important change: the very definition of agency.