Over the last 18 years in the creative industry, we've witnessed rapid evolution, technological change and unfortunately, we've also seen agencies we looked up to fail and disappear that once stood high above the rest in terms of the quality of work, size and influence.
Today, there are creative design and digital agencies popping up each week, burrowed away on each trendy city corner and throwing their hand in the air to an ever-crowded workspace. More and more money is being invested in the best staff, working culture and nurturing an environment that feeds creativity.
I love this diversity! I'm a huge fan of creative independence and spearing a flag in the ground but it's time to adapt or die like the multi-million-pound agencies we've seen fall before us.
After being heavily involved in successful agencies, seeing them adapt looks hard. It takes courage, an open-mind and can also mean giving up a way of working that's been a habit for many years. But still, adapt they must (don't read as Yoda!)... you just did?
Years ago, when a website was seen as 'something to have' by businesses, it was common place to build a website for a few hundred quid and at least they had a presence online. It was almost a bragging right to have a website! Design agencies soon picked up this "trend" and suddenly added 'Web Design & Development' to their toolkits. Websites would break in IE5 and nobody would understand why; complaining "It looked great in Dreamweaver". But even then, it wasn't particularly an urgent problem.
Well, things have changed... a lot!
I'm not going to preach to the preachers as we're all fully aware that it's much, MUCH different now. Websites are a complex, critical component of a business' marketing strategy, personality and growth. It can make or break sales before people have even communicated or connected. It needs to be right and carefully planned.
This isn't new though. Over the last 8 years or so, businesses have understood this and now spend more than ever on digital marketing and investing in their online presence not to mention social media. They select agencies that can deliver, have great reputations and can integrate into their marketing plans.
Yep, I said integrate!
What's your point?
OK, I'll get straight to it. My point is integration. We built Brand Twelve on this principle and it's the core of everything we do. We approach each project with a fresh mind and a mission to understand your audience.
There are too many touch points for consumers across all types of media (including traditional) for one agency to be defined by digital, design or search to the client at least. The full-service agency is coming back but stronger than ever, but not as it used to be. The full-service agency today is led by strategy and implementation, not by 'we can do that too'. It can also be a connection of partnering agencies that work fluently together delivering awesome services and results. Agencies are opening their doors to others and networking more than ever. All with the target of better solutions for their clients.
Old agencies that still predominantly just use transactional methods are going to fail. We've seen it happen. We have to build relationships, connect the touchpoints when it comes to data, learn about the client's audience in detail and refine our offerings in a much more granular way to get better results. Over time, this will become more cost-effective and delivered faster. But this is the change agencies have to make to retain clients and to produce their best ever work.