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FutureVision: Breaking the agency model

FutureVision looks at how an integrated agency model can help clients stay ahead of disruption, and how an agile agency of the future should be structured...

FutureVision: Breaking the agency model

Daniel Diez EVP, global chief marketing officer, R/GA

In the connected age, no industry is safe from disruption. The same technological forces that have century-old companies looking to innovate are leaving many of the agencies that represent them behind the times.

If you’re an organisation looking for a partner in this climate, you not only need help creating and disseminating your brand’s message, you need help delivering on that message—to a world of consumers who demand more from the brands they choose to engage with. This often means completely rethinking and restructuring your business.

Consequently, today’s agencies are being forced to look inward. With major tech companies entering the space, many brands taking their creative in-house, and consultancies building out their own creative arms, agencies are facing unexpected competition from all sides. And with data and AI enabling hypertargeted, hyperpersonalised ads, great storytelling will take different forms and grow in entirely new ways. 

How agencies will adapt to meet these new challenges remains to be seen. Some are building AI and machine learning into their operational structure, while others choose to remain set in their old ways. In any case, marketing today requires an evolved strategy.

In what follows, we look at how an integrated agency model can help clients stay ahead of disruption; journey through the key trends that are impacting the marketing industry; and sit down with R/GA’s Consulting team in New York to discuss the company’s approach to business transformation.

Finally, we gather perspective on how an agile agency of the future should be structured.

We hope you find the content in this issue both illuminating and inspiring.

Claire Beale, global editor-in-chief, Campaign

If you’re already feeling a little queasy about the pace of change in the advertising and marketing industries, you might want to skip this edition of R/GA’s FutureVision. If you’re clinging on to the familiar, the comfortable, and hoping you can just get through the rest of your career before Armageddon hits, then move along, move along. Nothing here for you.

For the rest of us, though, the portrait of our industry sketched over the next few pages is a daunting but exhilarating prospect. As this report underlines, adspend on digital now outstrips TV spend; meanwhile management consultancies are moving into the agency heartland, snapping up digital and creative shops; and clients are seeing their own sectors facing unprecedented upheaval.

Of course, we know disruption is the new constant. And we’ve understood for a while now that the smashing apart of the old order offers smart agencies and marketers the chance to reconstruct around a future-facing model. But, as you’ll read in Solving the Innovator’s Dilemma, knowing and understanding are not the same as actually having the faculty to pivot your business and grasp the new opportunities.

What those new opportunities are depends on what sector you’re in. In the agency space, companies like R/GA are already working with their clients on everything from consulting, through strategy to developing and making transformational new products and services, all Connected by Design. And if you’re a marketer, the chances are your industry is already being disrupted by technology. From automotive to hospitality to finance, no sector is immune to radical change and as this report points out, finding your place in the new world might mean completely rethinking what sort of company you actually are.

It’s a thrilling prospect. This is the moment when the safety bars come down, the chains start to tighten, the brakes come off and the ride really begins. If you don’t work with, or for, an agency that’s excited for the adrenaline rush to come, you need to find yourself another agency. And quick.

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