The internet and mobile phones are faster and so much more powerful than other media: they have dramatically changed the historic rules of communication. Where previously the broadcasters controlled what consumers saw and heard, today consumers can do their own "broadcasting" - and in real time too.
To exploit these new avenues, we have to be smarter, more opportunistic and more creative.
A lot of the reflex actions in traditional agencies need to be changed. To build consumer loyalty we need to create value cycles using new timescales; we need to invent surprises. This will help keep the now-impatient consumers engaged, aware, and ready to offer opinions through their blogs or other viral marketing tools.
Promotional and marketing techniques have to evolve to satisfy this new consumer motto, "everything right now", and agencies need to adapt to this change.
This will see the communications industry open up to respond to a consumer whose attention is split between a multitude of channels; and who demands more and more information, comparisons, advantages, proposals and good deals.
The agencies are setting up "content creation" units, because content can engage emotions (as well as entertain) and therefore bring brand loyalty.
When applying content to the media, the roads are interconnected: the TV sends to the web, which, in turn, sends to the mobile phone, that can then send to the retailer, and so on ...
We are realising that we cannot maintain the traditional agency that only knows about TV or point-of-sale.
We need to be able, through the globalisation and juxtaposition of hyperspecialists, to integrate a 360-degree vision of communication techniques.
This is the challenge for agencies over the next few years. The ones that have anticipated this evolution, and this acceleration, will be best able to adapt to the change that has yet to come.
With increasingly mature and hyper-competitive markets, the brands will always need to recognise the distinction that exists between marketing and communication, which is good news for us.
- Catherine Michaud joined TBWA France in 1985 and rose to become the director-general of Groupe TBWA France. In 1998, she switched to the direct marketing agency Tequila, where she took over as director-general. In 2002, Michaud was appointed president of FKGB and, in 2004, she was appointed president of K Agency and of the communications division of Groupe HighCo. She is also the president of the marketing delegation of the agencies' body the AACC.
Winner: Marketing Services Cristal 2006
Client: GE Money Bank
Agency: BBDO Czech Republic
MARKETING SERVICES CRISTAL 2007
Entry deadline 19 October 2007. Award ceremony 13 December 2007 in Meribel.