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Are ad agencies future ready?

January 12, 2010

What was the market for “Cola” when Coke was launched? Or what was the market for Burgers when McDonalds was launched? It was virtually ZERO. All those great brands have been built by advertising brick by brick. But the problem is we admen glued to the past rather than steering towards the future. When we can help all the brands of the world to get ready for the future, what made us to ignore our own backyard? That’s because we have taken the consumers for granted. When we controlled what they see and when they see, every thing was going good. But the consumer slowly evolved and today HE decides what to see and when to see!

Think about industries like IT, Aviation, Telecom, FMCG, Retail etc. They are what they are today because they understood the need for change to evolve with the consumer. The truth is advertising never liked the change. Agencies ignored the power of online 10 years back since it affects the revenue stream from traditional media. Even today internet is considered as NEW MEDIA (?). Even when the internet has finely embedded to the consumers’ life in form of WEB 2.0, agencies shy away from social media marketing. Because they wanted to push that out of the world TVC which opens in Hawaii, or that superb print campaign in all leading dailies. All agencies are capable of doing great work. But consumers no more want great TVCs, or amazing Print ads. They want transparency from a brand and a great brand experience.

The future of advertising is in the hands of mobile, online, social networks, and LBS. But traditionally, both admen and agencies have stayed away from adapting new skills like the IT companies and their programmers. But no more, brands will always tailgate consumers. It’s the time for agencies to adapt to the change. We can argue that clients pay agencies very less. But who is responsible for this?

Advertising is truly a knowledge based industry. When other knowledge based companies like McKensey, Deloitte, Earnest & Young, Reuters, Bloomberg etc get the fee what they wanted, agencies at the end got trapped in to the commission and less fee model. Because we fear that If we say ‘no’, then some one else will say ‘yes’!

The latest IBM Study indicates that the change advertising industry will witness in the next 5 years will be equal to the change in the last 50 years. It also warns us on the “End of advertising as we know it”.

What does this mean? End of advertising? Hell, no!  Advertising won’t be vanished but forced to change.  It’s about advertising re-born. Reaching the Holy Grail.

“Giving consumers what they want. Not what Marketers/agencies want?”

No more, consumers need to find the news. The news finds the consumer. Same way, the future holds tremendous opportunity where products find its consumer. Thanks to the technology, innovations like Mobile, social media, augmented reality etc provided us a solution to walk-with the small guy-The consumer.

The global advertising networks like WPP, Publicis are getting ready to face the future. While Publicis revamped their offering like Vivaki, Razorfish, Phonevalley etc, WPP too have created specialized divisions to face the future.

No one including Sir Martin Sorrell can’t pinpoint the perfect agency of the future since today’s business is dynamic and changing every day! Marketing communication needs to walk along with the consumer. And the consumer is not walking today! He is stumbling! The issue here is except few brands and agencies, most marketers haven’t found the perfect formula to pair hands with the modern consumer.

Opportunity today is that nothing is a success formula neither a flop formula! Mobile and Web 2.0 has empowered us to engage with the right consumer for a brand. Every brand need to channelize the brand essence in an more engaging way. We don’t need to afraid of failure in digital era. In digital era, when a brand makes a mistake, the rescue comes from an unexpected end – Brand Loyalists!

The future advertising agency is the one where it has a Digital DNA. We better watch out the agencies like AKQA, Razorfish etc.

Why so serious? Just register your views here :)

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2 comments

  1. manoj the corporate culture in itself will crumble… we will come to a point that a organization will cease to exist if it does not have society at the core….. so advertising perforce will have to change too… the propaganda , mass media stuff will not work anymore


    • Completely agree with you Benny. I believe the future belongs not to ADVERTISING agencies, but agencies that are conversation starters/facilitators between a brand and its consumers.



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