I was sat in a board meeting yesterday, where we were reviewing upcoming job roles within our business. And I found myself pondering the question, “just what is the best way to build our integrated team?”
When we launched a couple of years ago, we set out to build an integrated agency from the bottom up. Now lots of agencies claim they’re integrated. But the reality is that most of them have grown by department. Hiring or acquiring an individual with a new skillset, or a digital team and placing them next to the advertising team, for example, supposedly builds their ‘integrated offering’.
But does it really? Sitting next to one another doesn’t make you integrated. That’s a floorplan, not a strategic approach. Creating a truly integrated agency, founded on complete media neutrality, is a whole new challenge. Largely because certain disciplines still have bigger honey pots, so there’s always a temptation for agencies to ‘lean their integration’ towards those.
Real integration is focused on the approach of an agency, not its skill set. Trouble is, finding great integrated people is no easy task. In fact, I’m not sure many really exist…yet. Why? Because channels like social media simply haven’t been around long enough for anyone apart from dedicated experts to really understand how best to use them in an integrated context.
Can we speed this up? Perhaps as a truly integrated agency, we can accelerate this by changing our recruitment strategy? Perhaps we should seek to recruit people far more on the basis of their natural talent and insight, less on their past skills and departments… then nurture them to become integrated thinkers?