There’s no question that we are living in complicated times. In 2017, the news cycle seemed to move faster everyday, politics were consistently charged and uncertain, our culture evolved in new and unprecedented ways. There is nothing to suggest that things will be slowing down in 2018.
Businesses—our clients—find themselves in the middle of all of this, forced to make critical decisions in a world where the rules seem to change all the time.
They’re working to get their message out in a lightning-paced, ever-shifting environment where technology promises quick and easy fixes, but frequently adds new layers of complexity.
The role of the media agency today is also changing.We’re no longer investment specialists for brands, but a navigator of innovation, security guard and technologist rolled into one. But our core purpose remains the same — we’re here to make things simpler for our clients. They hire us to help them create growth and sustainable success, no matter what the conditions are.
To do that, we must be an island of simplicity in an increasingly chaotic world. Instead of frantically responding to complexity — digital, economic, cultural or otherwise — we need to refine our processes and approach, and arm ourselves with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose that can stand up to whatever comes down the pipeline next.
Here are four ways we can organise ourselves better:
Get back to the basics
Of course, we’re meant to be the masters of the newest technology, staying one step ahead of changes in the media landscape and the tools needed keep clients ahead of the game. However, we need to focus on building strong, personal relationships with our clients.
Understanding their needs, what drives them on a deeper level, what’s going to move the needle for their business, what they’re like as human beings. Without this trust, we can’t truly be partners.
Know the difference between the complex and complications
Complex ideas can often deliver the best answer to solving a problem or taking an opportunity. Execution of the idea must as uncomplicated as possible. Just-enough-tech for the idea has to be the mantra.
So, the less complicated the execution, the brighter an idea can shine through, and the easier it is for everyone to buy into.
Spend time on what really matters
An effective client approach means clear, mutually defined goals from the outset. This is where the focus must stay, not on processes that suck up time and effort that could be spent doing more valuable work.
Our industry focuses too much time on reporting structures, working on decks and presentations where we constantly prove we can plan.
Rationalise and standardise reporting to unlock more valuable time spent executing our strategies and fulfilling our promises to our clients.
More in-person meetings, fewer emails
Let’s make our communications count. In the time we spend responding to and drafting email exchanges, we could be building relationships in person, and getting to better solutions, faster.
Last September, we hosted the first ONE Vizeum event as a hands-on opportunity for us to learn alongside our clients and industry partners. We took from the event new sources of inspiration and applicable insights that fuel better ideas for the future.
What we learn from our client interactions feeds back into winning strategies for their businesses. And that’s not something email can ever hope to provide.
The opportunity to add value in person – or on the phone – far outweighs the chance of your three-page email not being read and adding unnecessary delays to a process.
By getting back to basics and remembering what’s really important — the client — we can all make things a lot simpler.
Jem Lloyd-Williams is managing director of Vizeum UK