It seems that the digital revolution doesn´t stop transforming our sector, leading it to a new scenario on which the axes of power yield irreparably to an imbalance against the establishment, against what we have known so far.
Cause has changed how the term brand is understood, the way to building it and the profile of the audiences (no longer passives). The media is changing, the values as well and now even the agents are changing. And these last are doing it right, either cause the traditional ones are being renewed or reinvented, or because new actors burst unexpectedly.
And for those working in this sector for a long time, I think that rather than regret, resist, or protect a territory that no longer will belong just to us, it´s worth doing welcome it. For many reasons:
- Advertising, as we have known it so far during the last decades…has died.
- Actually, it is facing a radical transformation fostered by the new technologies, the empowered audiences and their social narrative intended to co-create brands…or to destroy them.
- The brand control is no longer in the hands of neither the advertiser, nor the agency, nor the creative piece, nor the traditional media. We are in a new democratized scenario on which all individuals of a particular target are playing as well the role of advertisers; they are as well creatives – sometimes even genius – and they have their own media (social media channels) to spread their messages. And what it´s more important on this: what they say is much more credible.
- Besides, users are not consuming products or services, but brand experiences.
In previous industrial revolutions, our ancestors only could play a role of passive observers. Whereas in the fourth industrial revolution, the digital one, all we can be active agents envisioning and working [hard] with the aim of draw new and unexplored possibilities. Including the creation of new categories of branding services. Living the renovation of this sector and being part of the change is really exciting.
The point is what attitude we are going to face towards this passionate challenge. Because to set aside and saying that this was going to be a just a flash in the pan…has not been true. Because stating that embracing co-branding was so easy than incorporate it at the services portfolio list of the agency (digital marketing, social media branding, digital innovation hub) …has not been believed.
Change can´t be cosmetic; it has to do with a true understanding and has to really reinvent ourselves: the new way of branding is a result of the convergence of technology, creativity, social media and user generated content. Build the brand creating open public squares to meet up, connect and foster a free conversation between all the individuals of your communities! And if you are capable to do it beautifully and in a really distinctive way…so much the better.
And in the meantime…protecting the thought as owned territory just through mergers and acquisitions? I think that that is not the path, regardless the pressure of the shareholders.
A merge of two peers will lead always to more of the same. And taking over an independent agency with a different personality feature and soul is kind of killing the essence of the agency purchased. Because both the feature and the soul will be literally absorbed and faded away due to the pure financial orientation of the buyer entity.
But the situation gets even more thrilling when new actors start to offer advertising and branding services. And I am not talking only about the Google´s or Facebook´s, but also of consultancy companies such as Accenture or Deloitte as stated at the below Business Insider article published while the recent Cannes Festival 2017.
At this article, Michael Kassan, CEO of Media link, goes further forecasting that perhaps those consultancy companies will be the ones acquiring some of the big communication groups.
Not to forget that, among this new category of players, there are other type of companies: the giant Bloomberg has just announced its intention of jumping into the advertising market driven by great ambitions of providing value through the generation of digital content.
Consulting companies are in control of data, whereas traditional agencies not. In the case of the Bloomberg´s, and in an era where content is key for brand creation, this kind of companies have an advantage that agencies don´t have.
But, it´s not just the value of the data or of the content newcomers are bringing, as stated above…it is as well the big value of the creativity coming from other players: media than has had the vision to reinvent themselves within the digital economy such as The New York Times, have been incorporating – among other services – their own in house creative studio…and have announced their desire to start to sell creative services to advertisers.
Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian surgeon and economist, coined the term Creative Destruction: the adaptation to the business world of the Darwinism principle of the natural selection.
Destroy to Build. This is what we are living now in all the sectors, as well at the Advertising one. Welcome to the disruption, welcome to the radical change…it was about time!
By Ángel González