…about car brands and what other brands they own, look no further than the chart below.
…about car brands and what other brands they own, look no further than the chart below.
With millennials now the biggest cohort—eclipsing even the long-time behemoth, boomer generation who led the generation-size race for about a quarter century, we now face a new challenge: And along with this new demographic challenge that comes with these omni-tech-type personas, is a heck of a lot of disruption—across many a sector.
Today, no stone is left unturned. Millennials, along with Gen X—and Gen Y (Harvard) in between—one sees that based on the criteria shown in the infographic below, there are indeed differences between these two main cohorts, as they relate to things such as adaptability, relationship-building, problem-solving and collaboration, among other criterion.
If I had to start somewhere in sharing out these learnings… it would be what I felt with each visit…
Almost no one is feeling comfortable in their current skin.
This has lead to fear. It’s actually palpable when you walk into more established agencies who have seen their market and profit lines shift over the past 3 years.
This makes for an interesting market. And a lot to talk about.
Below I am sharing a few of the things my team observed in 5 core agency categories and potential thought starters for each on where to go and what’s important to keep top of mind.
Please note – I use “agency” as a catchall for any company that provides a service in our industry.
Sometimes it feels like you can’t get a break. Even if you are 100 people, the flaws of the 5,000 person agency may fall squarely on your shoulders. All the market trends have hit you the hardest and you have to work twice as hard to prove why you are different. Clients look at you in a state of change & protect mode, which makes sense. Be honest about this. Play up your greatest strengths. At your core, you offer the ‘ability’ to be integrated and most importantly offer communications & media planning during the upfront. It’s more important than ever to have this seamlessly connected to the creative platform. With quick decision-making leadership, you can showcase a collaborative integrated model that functions through smaller teams within your organization.
If you are on the larger side of this category — you have every opportunity to recreate parts of how you work, and I mean REALLY blow it up. With all the teams under one roof and senior staff that most likely will only start a new agency if they leave you, why not empower them with a financial model that works for all parties? Take one client along for the ride and see how it goes.
A good bulk of you are lead by ex-full service agency veterans. Many of you are big idea shops who have got it all going for you in terms of satisfying a large brand marketer. You’ve done some of the best work in the industry, sat through a few years in a big spot at a top agency( to fund your own), and learned how to pitch from some of the best. In today’s market, you will win accounts. So it’s all in your hands to be smart about growth and management. Lead positioning with your expertise, but be sure to show that you won’t slip on the perceived inherent weaknesses associated with your low overhead model . Some examples include:
“Ex” because these are gone and so are those budgets. It was a great run. Those remaining in this space is still trying to cash out on banners and keep saying they will now go “direct to client” because their revenue source has dried up. That direct to client part is a long discussion… For those stuck in transition mode, it is important to be thoughtful in how you say what you do and pick your new direction. Based on the meetings we had, here is where we saw the transition shake out:
(Note: You can also shutter your current brand if you are going direct to client as a new entity. It could be helpful on several fronts including how you structure this new business model with your partners.)
When your sweet spot is pulling off everything for a live event — from strategy to the creative execution(s) to casting the influencers & brand ambassadors to capturing content to dealing with the permits & cleaning up at the end — this is you. You also tap the creative technology groups referenced above.
The word “experiential” has created confusion in the marketplace because in the age of brand experience, it that could mean any form of tactic. One camp thinks about it as creative technology while another camp sees it as event marketing. You bring many forms of capabilities together that are silos that should be no more. There is trust to go direct from a marketer if you continue to prove the synthesis of creative ideas (from within or by tapping partners) and execution that is hassle-free. Activation agencies who plug in nicely with larger AOR relationships or in-house teams can see big business in the coming years. Be cognizant of the need for strong client services and a showcase an understanding of data collection. As this will be cluttered quickly, be smart in your positioning, calling out that uniqueness about your company.
”Spending on brand activation marketing in the U.S. rose 5.5 percent in 2015 to more than $560 billion, accounting for almost 60 percent of advertisers’ budgets.” — ANA Report 2016
A long time ago the digital creative agency as we knew it morphed — you went enterprise or social.Those who stayed in the middle were production companies building digital experiences online that have slowly consolidated to a small handful. People who grew up working with the web were just ready to explore other things. Teams with a desire to make something with utility and longevity. In the visits, I found these groups were just lost in explaining what they did with work to back it up. Some were making social digital campaigns, others .coms for startups, others were making a few game apps for brands… but they all wanted to be called product and service agencies in their pitch. When questioned, most said — “well, that’s just what a website is these days — it has to be a useful product.” Or, “It’s the direction we are going in, we just have to take advertising work to pay the bills.”
Personally, I believe in true product companies that build platforms and business models from beginning to distribution. Rarely has a large % of the staff of one of these places worked on the advertising side of the fence (Work & Co gets an exception in my book &
For these transitional digital teams, it seems like a core struggle is in finding the right revenue model to satisfy their team that wants to be experimental and I suspect — build products. But if you were previously ad-focused, that is not necessarily in your nature. Here are some trends we saw in how these groups repositioned:
Note: A digital innovation agency model is not mentioned. It sounds like it could be something that makes sense within the digital agency culture, but to a marketer, this could put you in a whole other ballgame with capgemini, accenture, deloitte, ibm… these are groups that put digital innovation at the core of a business to fuel growth profit by streamlining hr, productivity, supply chain management, retail experiences — all from an enterprise transformation approach. They are a potential source to hire you for creative insights around experience.
The marketplace feels bumpy ahead for some and smooth sailing for others. But in reality, even if you are a more established agency trying to adapt or a fresh new incorporation with your first office downtown, we’re all facing the similar struggles and striving to stand out in a cluttered market.
While you search for your place in the right category, don’t forget to connect it to your story — Who you are, Why you do what you do, and that uniqueness that only you offer. Because there always is one, even if you have to dig deep.
The clients that knock on your door tomorrow expect incredibly smart thinking that will optimize their budget with your savvy approaches to getting things done and shaking things up.
Make them look good for selecting to work with you.
Lindsey lives & works in Dumbo, Brooklyn. She runs Sunday Dinner. A company that exists to help brand marketers & independent agencies uncover new ways to work together for today’s modern business. For brands,Sunday Dinner acts as an advisor and orchestrator helping brands break down silos & create new ways of working with talent brief by brief. For agencies, Sunday Dinner runs an agency growth & positioning workshop that gets creative teams in gear to be their most successful self.
And yes, there are dinners. Check them out here.
Here is a depiction that author, Pamela Sisson, shares. They actually number are 18 vs. 20. The key takeaway, I trust, is living by, or adopting these suggestions; not so much about the end-result: million$!
This gives new meaning to LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is now a big, key selling point for developers building new structures. All, to protect our environment. But this takes it to a whole other level. Organically.
It’s in a hidden place in beautiful Sorrento, Italy, in the Campania region, situated in southern Italy, in a valley that is characterized by a humid microclimate. This allows the most distinct plants to grow undisturbed. As such, they’ve taken possession of the remains of the buildings. And this is the result. But what a unique and charming view.
Today, the importance of being hyper-focused on one-to-one communication with consumers, is vital. Static sites no longer make the cut, especially when a personalized email (great engagement to start), takes you there, but under-delivers with a typical, old-school, all-visitor blanket approach of irrelevant and static content. Today, your website MUST be like a living organism with personalized and dynamic content changing with each subsequent visit—intuitively and organically—shepherding your prospect through the sales funnel.
I did it! Through a lot of hard work, intense training, leading and teaching, as well as competing in various local, provincial and national competitions, this past June 2016, I was bestowed, by my Master Sensei, Omar Maldonado, with a second dan (a.k.a. 2nd degree) black belt in Shotokan Karate. Modesty aside, I am very proud of myself to have reached this elevated level in martial arts. But, as I am well known to push for more, I will not stop here; I am continuing… and I am now engaged in working—even harder—for my third dan. I have a lot of work ahead of me. Stay tuned.
Photo: Receiving my Shodan. Highly accomplished, widely respected martial artist within the martial arts community, locally and internationally, Sensei Omar Maldonado (7th dan), bestowing me with my black belt. —June 2012.
During my trek to attaining my second dan—and my first, for that matter—I have met, trained with, and led, by some of the world’s esteemed martial artists, respected world-wide for their contributions to the martial arts. Those well-known and highly accomplished individuals helped me create my path toward higher altitude, and in developing key skills that will be with me forever! Thank you to everyone who were by my side; who coached me; who encouraged me; who mentored me; and who believed in me and my ability to reach new heights.
They are: 7th dan, Sensei Omar Maldonado (Toronto, Canada); world-renowned and second-generation student of the founder of Goju-ryu, Chojun Miyagi, Okinawan-revered 10th dan, Sensei Chuck Merrimen (Texas, USA & Okinawa, Japan – photo below with Sensei, seated, and me, left); 7th dan, Sensei Mike Casinha (New Jersey, USA & Vancouver, Canada); Kyoshi Armi Rizzo, Legendary promoter, leader and karate pioneer (Toronto, Canada); Sensei Mike Bernardo, international and world champion in forms, fighting and weapons (Toronto, Canada); Sensei Julie Werhnyak (two-time member of the United States National Tae-Kwon-Do Team, U.S. Air Marshall, FBI, and Texas, USA state police officer and self-defense instructor); 8th dan, late Sensei Edward DiNardo (Arizona, USA); 9th dan, Sensei Michael Mancuso (New York, USA); 9th dan, Sensei John Atkinson and Hall-of-Famer Sensei Alex Atkinson; 9th dan, world-famous, Sensei Patrick McCarthy; 7th dan, Sensei Robert Reimby, world-class champion Tae Kwon-Do (Stockholm, Sweden); and many others—too many to mention, at my dojo—you know who you are. Thank you, thank you!
Photo: iPhone – L-R: Me, Sensei Chuck Merrimen, Godfather of Goju-Ryu, highly esteemed, world-renowned, second-generation student and founder of Goju-Ryu, Chojun Miyagi, Okinawan-revered 10th dan, Sensei Chuck Merrimen (Texas, USA & Okinawa, Japan), and fellow dojo Sensei Tristan Bogler. —June 04, 2016.
Photo: Feb. 19, 2017, Highly regarded, esteemed and respected, world renowned Sensei Alex Atkinson (9th Dan), and me. We were attending a wedding celebration of two fellow martial artists. Usually in our gis training, this time, we find ourselves in more formal attire.
Photo: Me, performing Sushi No Kan kata, using the bo weapon.
Photo: Me, performing Wansu Dai, an open-hand, 2nd dan kata, at our dojo.
Photo: Me, along with my fellow martial artists, at my local dojo.