It used to be simple: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Simple, but, ultimately, not enough. Things moved on. As we began to talk more urgently of marketing integration rather than mere co-existence, the mantra became about Co-ordination: everyone pulling in the same direction.
The upshot was a lot of "heave" but, ultimately, not enough "ho!". Next came Collaboration, agencies "playing nice" and working together on "the one thing". No squabbling over who had the idea, the ear of the client or the biggest slice of the budget. In many cases, collision was as much in evidence as collaboration.
We can’t dismiss these approaches as foolhardy or unsuccessful; they were of a time when marketers and their agency partners were attempting to evolve and grow in an exponentially interconnecting world. Now, a clearer, smarter, more efficient and sophisticated working process is required.
Welcome Super Collaboration. It is the beehive concept, in which each part of the organisation brings something without which the whole would fall apart. It’s the recognition that there is no need for everyone to work on the same thing, so long as all work toward the brand purpose. It frees agencies to do more of what they’re really good at. No duplication or competition, but a clear sense of role, purpose and interconnected place.
Could this be the most simple and powerful breakthrough in interconnected marketing? Lego, Nike and Google are some of the few brands so far with enough sense of self to be willing to be so experimental and fluid.
If the future is open-source marketing with brand confidence at its core, then this interdependent connectivity will finally do more than scratch the surface.
Suzanne Bidlake, commercial editor, Campaign Content Labs, Haymarket Brand Republic Group