Thursday, October 25, 2007

7 Models for Agency Survival

**UPDATED**Changes are required for advertising agencies to survive in the future. Here are some thoughts on what the model might be...

1. destroy & rebuild:
a la DRAFT/FCB UK - offering voluntary redundancy to all staff so they can rebuild in the right way - not sure that they expected 50 people to say yes...

2. mini-me:
fund key staff (who are probably thinking about their own start-up anyway) to set up competing/complimentary fast moving companies to challenge and change the model. assimilate key lessons into the main agency. naked - though an untraditional model in the first placed has done this with a variety of offerings including Naked Inside as have Anomaly with Another Anomaly.

3. the brain:
a collection of the right minds with no vested interest in what channel gets produced and with a thin level of creative. in-sourcing work to other agencies within a holding company or large group. As mentioned in the comments below Agency Republic started out as this model then moved to full service digital.

4. conductor:
similar to above but outsourced to a black book of key suppliers and orchestrate not only delivery of a core idea through their relevant channels/disciplines but work with them and share ideas. similar to a tv directors/producer model. many agencies, including digital, operate this model using people like the Barbarian Group to deliver. outsource 20% of their work.

5. buy-ups:
do the above then buy them in. though differing cultures could be a big issue. again many have been through this model including to varying degrees of success.

6. don't do digital:
don't attempt to do everything digital but just do what you are good at - direct response, story tell ling or reputation management - and integrate it simply into the mix. "no digital - go away" was Gooby's approach where no work was allowed to be presented if it didn't have a digital component.

7. the tweak:
though it might appear to be rearranging deck chairs on the titanic, there seems to be merit in this approach as most are doing it. incremental shifts but nothing seismic, Fallon is a good example

er... 8. the ostrich
"only a few years till i am out so it will all fall apart on someone else's watch." No names mentioned...

Any thoughts or other suggestions...


Friday, October 19, 2007

When I Was Young...

A 3 minute video highlighting the most important characteristics of US students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime.

Via Communities Dominate Brands


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ad Agency Destroys Itself

Destroy To Build: Interesting that DraftFCB has offered all of its UK staff redundency as part of a plan to restructure its digital, creative and production departments.

All of it's staff, though it expects to lose 60.

Rather than tinker with existing structures and pandering to obsolete departments and personel they have sent a strong signal to all staff and the industry that they are changing. In their PR they have been touting a "New Improved Wheel" that creates a couple of new disciplines and renames some others. Bringing data and experience planning upfront and on equal footing to the more established advertising disciplines is a good move.

I recently ran a poll on facebook to see what people thought about the future of the industry and who would be best placed to succeed. Over half the votes went to brand new models like Anomaly but I think that if your clients will indulge you, this could be equally successful...

Disclaimer: I worked at Draft London in 2005 & with Nigel Jones whilst at AgencyRepublic

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Marketers Embrace Digital Transformation

Over ninety percent of marketers indicated they planned to increase marketing spend in digital, but they face significant barriers —inexperience, insufficient metrics, and lack of organizational support— according to Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010, a joint study between the IAB, ANA (Association of National Advertisers), AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies), and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bob Garfield's Fuck'd-O-Meter

At the recent Ogilvy Verge event Bob Garfield caused a storm, but stimulated useful conversation, by talking about the iminent demise of the advertising industry unless we all recognised the signs and fundamentally changed what we do and how we do it.

In a panel session later in the day he was asked "On a scale of 1-10 how is Web 2.0 and the rise of social computing affecting the advertising industry". His response was the Fuck'd-O-Meter which I have taken the liberty to visualise above.


Evolution 2.0 - Dove Onslaught

Another powerful video from our cousins at Ogilvy Vancouver. Following Evolution was always going to be tough but whereas this this is perhaps not as hard hitting, I believe it will actually stimulate more conversations of the sort required, between kids and their parents. Nice work.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Narrow & Deep - What Porn Can Teach Advertisers

An interesting interview with Brian Shuster on iMedia Connection talking about the tactics that he and his competitors pioneered and how they helped build the basis for not just adult internet but also mainstream marketing .

What he discovered was that rather than spending time money and effort working out how to keeping his audience on his site they could actually be more valuable when they left.

"The internet works in a very counter intuitive way," Shuster explains. "Adult webmasters like myself figured out pretty early on that they could often make more money advertising their competitors than they could selling their own product."

The internet is a medium that rewards depth above all else, catering to individual passions that go narrow and deep, rather than the wide yet superficial pastimes enjoyed by the masses.

For example The New York Times ought to dedicate quality ad space to The Washington Post, Shuster says, explaining that both publishers make the mistake of treating internet users as a depletable resource. People know they are only a click and search away from more of the same content so why fight it, embrace it.

"People who go to either one of those sites have already expressed an interest in news," he says. "Visitors might actually want more news, so you need to take them there and figure out a business model that makes that profitable. The truth is that you can often make more money steering traffic away from your site than you can by trying to keep it on the page because users are looking to use the internet to dig deep on a given subject."

He goes on to talk about brands and how they should, counter intuitively brand together to service an audience, so in the case of automotive, Ford & Lexus should collaborate to feed the passionate and interested user. Likewise Facebook & MySpace should work together on joint ventures to bounce users between them.

"They're different enough to be distinct, but similar enough to make a lot more money working together," Shuster says.

Interestingly innovations in search tools built into your browser from companies like Autonomy which scans the context of the page and suggest similar content not only circumvents the Google monster but does exactly what the porn boys have been prototyping...

So sex does sell.


4 Reasons Why Mobile Social Spaces Will Not Work

Danah Boyd from Berkely & Harvard is, as the Financial Times referred to her, “the high priestess of social networking”. She spoke at the MoCollywood mobile conference that I was on a panel at, on social networks and the issues and opportunities around their adoption in mobile.

She started by clarifying Social Networking vs. A Social Network. Networking is meeting strangers whereas Network is about building existing relationships. Nice distinction.

Then she gave a explanation and history of social spaces.

Real life social spaces are social dip-sticks. They allow us to understand people. Looking at “publics” (parks, squares, gardens) and how people interact and communicate allows us to understand a society at large. Online spaces also allow us this insight.

Online social spaces moved from groups based around common interests on usenets like – “rec/pets/cats” for those who had a particular interest in cats – then on to groups centred on “me & my friends”. This gave friends has a new definition, they are not your nearest and dearest but friends allow you to build out your context – building out who you are. It turns out that 2/3 of people use comments pages not the email functionality. Part of this is for show, signalling that I know this person.

Offline you exist online you have to write yourself into being. Friends are a key part of that, as are the apps and brands that are part of your profile.

Social networks online are different to offline "publics" and throws up very different ways of behaving for individuals and brands: Persistence, Searchable, Replication, Invisible Audiences, Context are the 5 key areas that i really should cover in a separate post.

Danah then moved on the talk about the reasons why social will find translation to mobile difficult.

Fragmented conversations
Mobile conversations are one to one, they are node to node vs internet social sites where they are more connected – on mobile other can’t see whole of conversation – making it lopsided.

Asynchronicity vs Synchronous
Asynchronicity is the norm online but synchronicity is norm on mobile. Mobile is an immediate, push with an expectation of immediate response, it is more intrusive but internet social sites allow the receiver to decide when to read and respond.

Browsers largely present the same experience and functionality – mobile has different handsets and platforms and pricing plans which mean you can never assume your receiver can actually do what you do. Standardization is therefore a big barrier

A mobile user is very identifiable vs the often anonymous web potentially hindering social spread.

Her key point was that you can't translate internet into mobile, they have different structures and ways of working and in the current structure.

This final point I agree with but "mobile and social not suited" I beg to differ...

As more devices have the ability to browse the internet the experience will become more and more consistent, in fact much of it is already bar the size of your screen. As brands develop mobile versions of their other social offering - mfacebook & mtwitter or bloger & sony mobile - they will compliment and enhance not replace their web offering. Adding mobility and geolocation to comments and posts is a huge opportunity.

Mobile can and should be very much be at the heart of social networks.