It’s no secret that labels are moving more advertise and marketing roles in-house. Countless stories have been written about it. From media buying to SEO to full creative provides, every day delivers fresh report of another multinational determining it’s better( read: cheaper) to do it all themselves. Brand experience is no different: as labels embracing experience-led seeing, they also tend to import experts who are familiar with creative through the traditional experience lenses of activatings, pop-ups and live events.
For bureaux, this seemingly leaves two options. They can either expand their offering( casting a wider net for possibilities) or waste time swimming against the current. In my experience, agencies can easily become extended as they move out of their zone, relying on freelances to patch over the holes, and running the risk of damaging relationships and reputations by underdelivering. I’ve likewise watched as organizations have started turf wars with the clients’ internal organizations, trying to protect their shrinking piece of the pie. Both do more damage than good.
But there is a third alternative. Agencies need to go narrow: clearly identify where your agency excels and stimulate your mission to be absolutely best in class within that area. More and more, we’re hearing labels bemoan the’ one stop shop’ mentality. They are seeking out genuine expertise over generalization and don’t trust organizations that claim to do it all. This should be a signal to the industry: to adapt to today’s landscape, constrict should become the new normal, whether you’re collaborating with in-house crews or as part of a multi-agency effort. While it may mean closing off certain revenue streams, it ultimately future-proofs your bureau by making you an attractive collaborator with importance that stems from expertise.
But how do you narrow your focus to become a better collaborator? I recently got some insight into this while working with Vans for the world launch of a nostalgic experience designed to celebrate their latest shoe technology. By reflecting on that successful partnership, I learned several lessons on how to embrace this better model for bureau success.
Know your strengths and your lacks
This one seems obvious, but it’s trickier than it seems. It can feel counterintuitive to lower the number of revenue-generating boulevards ahead of you( especially as occasions get tougher ), but in truth, expertise will always be valued. Critically assess what your agency does well, and strengthen in these areas. At the same time, be clinical about removing service offerings that aren’t at the heart of your business, or within the capabilities of your own team. Expertise will lead to increased confidence and most honest( and profitable) the relations with clients. In the case of launching the brand-new shoe technology, we didn’t try and create all new visual assets for its own experience: instead, we integrated our appear and feel with their broader retail launching design, building the entire launch moment far more integrated.
Risk building powerful partnerships
No one wants to say no to a patron. But that doesn’t mean just saying yes. As you shed your non-essential gives, are to achieve partners that are experts in that field, and forge brand-new relationships with them.
If clients ask you to take on elements outside your narrow band of expertise, propose sharing the onu with a trusted spouse. This has the benefit of continuing your relationship with the client trusted and healthy while also helping you body-build strong relationships with sister or collaborator agencies. Ultimately, the flow of opportunity will reverse as partners begin recommending your squad when placed in similar situations. It can feel risky to invite a new agency to the table, but if you’ve laid a solid foundation, you should be able to avoid a landgrab situation. A great instance of this in the implementation of creative engineering: it’s better to “ve brought” experts in specific engineerings rather than travelling it alone with disparate vendors, or trusting generalists.
Build good barriers to make good neighbors
Clear and well-communicated division of labor is absolutely critical: before a pencil is sharpened or an resource designed, clearly articulated who will be doing what.
When working on the shoe campaign, neither side began designing until both sides( organization and in-house creative) had agreed upon a shared creative direction, and carefully ascribed roles and responsibilities to move forward. As the agency, we then controlled the experience design, leaving the Vans team to focus on the messaging and core label factors. This ultimately have all contributed to a streamlined creative and production process, and ultimately a successful and satisfying project delivery that far transcended client expectations.
Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen
Finally, a harder lesson to learn: more creatives don’t equal better creative. When in-house and agency creatives( or multi-agency squads) collaborate within clearly defined boundaries, the yield can be excellent. However, the flip side can be frightful: multiple teams delivering the same work, weeks invested going down the wrong direction and in the worst case scenario, the dilution of the core hypothesi. Good creative requires a clear vision, so make sure everyone’s on the same page in a macro feel before letting each squad demonstrate their own expertise.
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