Today, every successful communications strategy is comprised of three key elements – creativity, technology and data. Combine these effectively and it’s possible to produce engaging, inspiring work that delivers the right message at the right time in the right context. But to achieve this aim, brands must ensure these three elements work in perfect harmony and this is easier said than done.
Sourcing and recruiting professionals with the requisite skills to deliver these strategies is a significant challenge in itself. In addition to an ingenious creative team, brands now require data scientists and programmers at their disposal. But perhaps a greater problem is determining who should organise and manage this new communications mix as a whole. If modern communications is an orchestra comprised of three key sections, who should hold the conductor’s baton?
I believe that this responsibility should rest with creative agencies. Although the agency model is often derided as old fashioned, to me it’s ideally suited to the challenge of combining different talents and practices to achieve results. And if the history of creative agencies has shown us anything, it’s that they are adept at adapting.
They’ll have to be, as things are going to need to change if they’re to keep up with consumers. Most importantly, as a collective they need to be more agile. Currently, they’re too slow to react to the ever-changing needs and behaviour of consumers and they need the capability to react in real-time and engage consumers when they’re receptive, not moments, hours or weeks later.
In order for this change to occur, a new generation of creative professionals is required. In my experience, there’s a pressing need for creatives who are capable of conjuring brilliant ideas but can also read data and act on insights in real-time. By hiring individuals who can bridge the delta between data and creativity, agencies can improve their agility by minimising the number of experts required on one project. It’s also likely their creative output will improve thanks to a data-driven approach to idea generation.
The creative professional of the near future will also need to be well versed in the nuances of different channels and capable of creating content that’s tailored for specific platforms and contexts. By recruiting these multichannel specialists, agencies can reduce complexity and become more flexible. It will also enable them to reduce costs by removing the need to brief myriad teams and third party agencies on the same campaign.
The need for agility isn’t limited to the creative department and it’s my belief that the offices of future agencies will have something of the newsroom about them. Each department will have to work rapidly and collaborate closely with others in order to accommodate changes in audience behaviour and develop and distribute content within short timeframes.
This vision of the future may sound frenetic but I hope it comes to pass. Change brings challenges of course but creative agencies also have a host of opportunities to look forward to. Not least ushering in a new golden era of communications as conductor of the modern communications orchestra.