There’s a million things I don’t understand. Like why single bachelors of the male variety (aren’t all bachelors male otherwise they’d be called bachelorettes? I think they are, but just to clarify I’ve put the ‘male’ bit in) always have black leather sofas and giant flatscreen TVs in their homes. Or why people like pineapple. Or why we just can’t all get along. And more in that vain.
But lately what I’ve not been understanding at all is why there is such a thing as digital advertising agencies. In particular why there is a need for a specific agency that does digital stuff. Surely, digital isn’t just another channel on the block, it’s a new way of thinking, of figuring out how to interact with the audience or customers or whatever they’re called nowadays. Of communicating. I don’t understand the need for the separation of the different channels in different agencies. I’m also looking at it from a business and outsider’s perspective. Why would I, if I were a brand manager, have different agencies for different channels? Wouldn’t I just want to talk to a bunch of people who understand my painstakingly hard work on crafting and living a brand, and help me communicate that message in effective and clever ways? I’m pretty sure people on the receiving end (aka consumers/customers/audience) don’t give a hoot which channel the message comes through, they most likely are not waiting for your message anway (subject for a whole new post). Whether that’s through a viral on Youtube, a print ad in the free London Paper or by organising a festival in a park on a sunny day with lots of music and ice-cream. Hell, it could be through a song, or a book, or a iPhone application, or by word of mouth. Or Twitter, reverse grafitti or by sponsoring an art show. As long as it’s done in the way that’s most appropriate for the brand, by people who know what they’re doing from a strategic, creative and technical point of view*, why would I want to have specific agencies? That feels like you’re deciding what channel the message is going to go out on, before knowing how you’re going to say it and whether that’s the most appropriate.
So I’m not getting it, this whole integrated versus specialist agencies thing. From an outsider’s perspective, it strikes me as being decidedly odd, and very old-fashioned. Time for the agency of the future, a new model. Anyone want to start one with me?
* so that’s the reason I can see for the original existence of specific digital agencies: you definitely need technical know-how to do this kind of stuff. But surely that’s a historical thing, not a reason for the continued existence of different agencies.
[blogpost sparked by a combination of Tom Fishburne’s excellent drawing on silos and Russell Davies column in Campaign of July 25th which I can’t seem to be able to track down on the Brandrepublic website.]