Ayesha Mathews-Wadwha, the founder and creative director of the digital branding micro-agency “PixInk”, has been sharing her views on the changing habitat of online advertising agencies.
Even creative art directors and copywriters harbor an inner conservative (with a small ‘c’) which resists change; but according to Mathews-Wadwha, new and better ways of connecting with consumers and clients are becoming a matter of survival.
Disruptive innovation is here whether we like it or not
In short, the advertising industry has to contend with disruptive innovation, she argues. But any art director or account manager who thinks that “disruptive innovation” always boils down to new technology is making an error. Mathews-Warwha draws on a recent blog by Ignition founder Tim Williams, who says that it’s “usually a recombination of existing features and technologies served up in a disruptive way.”
The question now on the lips of that misinformed art director or account manager is, “But what, or who, are these disruptors?”
Mathews-Wadwha holds up agency trading desks and audience platforms like Accuen, Funbox, Mediabrands and Xaxis in the media industry, as well as production companies that double as agencies, like B Reel, Radical Media and Trailer Park. Media companies like Scratch, Electus and Conde Nast Studio are also doubling up as ad agencies, and traditional marketing providers are increasingly being disrupted by the interventions of technology providers like Facebook and Google, who are now acting as marketing providers, too.
Going with the disruptive flow
These disruptions need to be embraced by ad agencies as creative transitions. For example, instead of a traditional sales model, Digital Kitchen has been developing great, engaging content as the foundation for marketing and branding, the kind of thing that consumers are increasingly demanding.
With clients becoming reluctant to choose one agency for everything, the “agency of record” model may be becoming obsolete; “a la carte” services and open contracts look like the way forward. Successful agencies are also diversifying from just TV or radio into social media to stay in touch with consumer preferences and client needs. They’re also avoiding disruption by proactively innovating, embracing consumer-centric trends like content marketing, video marketing and mobile.
Art directors and account managers take note; the antidote to death by disruption is life by innovation.