This essay was a funny one that caused quite a few problems for the delegates. The question centered around whether agencies had lost their influence at board level in the last 30 years and what they should do to get it back. Plenty of discussion was had as to the meaning of the word “agencies” here. 80% of the course intake was media whilst the final 20 was split between creative and digital! We all implicitly understood that the use of the word “agency” in the title referred primarily to creative/ad agencies and for many this is when the penny dropped about the course.
So what to do? With such a sweeping statement it required a punchy response, which essentially boils down to “yep creative agencies may have lost C-suite influence but actually media agencies have increased theirs”. This shifting of power from creative to media is something that is very much on the industry agenda at the moment. i detail many of the reasons why in the essay but my thinking has developed further and i hope to explore this next week.
My new viewpoint is that the balance has shifted to one of short term and long term. The digital performance landscape has been “won” by the media agency, there is no way that this will be relinquished and this very much is about short term sales and conversions (don’t let anyone tell you different) and campaign level thinking. The longer term is owned by creative agencies, they provide the strategic direction over longer term periods setting out the tone of voice and how the brand actually behaves. i’m sure those who work within media agencies will challenge this assertion (we do do “body language” after all but is acting like a leader or a luxury brand really as powerful as understanding and communicating somethign as fundamental as IKEAs Wonderful Everyday? Anyway i digress as this will be something i pursue in length at another time.