The issues that communications professionals at agencies across the world are trying to tackle remind me of the metaphor created by Pierre Levy in The Technologies of Intelligence: the blind engineer and the disabled sociologist.
The engineer marvels at the infrastructure and the tools he creates. But he does not have a global view of their utilisation; he is blind to the importance of all of his tools and their roles in society. The disabled sociologist has a good grasp of the overall social and cultural context in which he lives. But he's frustrated that he doesn't have the tools that would enable him to transform this society he so brilliantly understands.
I believe our industry experiences the same frustrations. Some professionals have a large communications infrastructure available, but cannot fully understand its potential. Others have a clear understanding of the needs and potential, but complain about the lack of infrastructure, which is the case in Brazil.
We can also compare our industry to healthcare. Medicine works best for the patient when generalists and specialists know how to work together. In advertising, as in healthcare, you're not supposed to save just one part of the body while letting the patient die. We need to bring back the generalist, but one who knows how to match specific communications disciplines with an overall business strategy. More than an advertiser, the communication professional now needs to know how to diagnose and see the whole.
Here in Brazil, as in any other part of the world, the challenge of delivering holistic communications for a brand will be solved by teams who can make "engineers" and "sociologists" work in a collaborative way.
We need to seize the opportunity we have in this market. Historically, we're used to working together in close, multidisciplinary teams and dealing with adversity in fast-changing economic scenarios. As a result, Brazilian professionals must not expect market reinvention to come just from the technological advances that have evolved our industry on a global scale. Soon, technology will become even more of a commodity to every market competitor.
Rather, we must take advantage of the competitive edge we already possess. Thanks to our talent for tackling adversity and our ability to adapt, we are getting closer to finding a new and more effective model for the Brazilian ad industry overall.
I also believe a simpler change is happening, one from business professionals who join in heterogeneous groups and strive to work in an ethical, collaborative, passionate, focused, courageous way. We're striving to bring a new business model to life, and we're doing so without being dazzled by the marvels of technological tools and communications infrastructure, nor feeling immobilised by a lack of them.
- Marcello Magalhaes is the planning director of Giovanni & DraftFCB in Sao Paulo.