Alive to change: a flexible approach to the ‘always on’ consumer

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All brands must evolve to survive and thrive. We’ve recently experienced a rapid period of evolution at the freshly branded AgencyUK (formerly The Agency), so we thought it appropriate to offer a few insights into the strategy that lies behind our own agency evolution.

For many, the past few years have shown signs of creative becoming increasingly commoditised. Digital is often the short-term answer to diminishing marketing budgets. Media convergence appears to have accelerated automation. And social can serve as a necessary, yet largely unquantifiable addition to the media mix. However, few can argue that an over-arching, well-coordinated brand experience is at the heart of most high performance brands.

But how can agencies keep our hands on the controls and navigate brands through an ‘always-on’ and ever-changing consumer landscape?

1. Be Integrated

Successful integration is more than just a floor plan. From day one – back in 2008 – our teams were set up to work intuitively and seamlessly, both on and offline, to create truly effective work.

By remaining lean, independent and flexible we are better placed to react, adapt and even predict changes in consumer behaviour, needs and wants.

Of course, one thing hasn’t changed. And that is the need to put the digital consumer at the heart of all your communications.

2. Be commercially creative

A big idea is a great idea, but people talk, share and collaborate more than ever before; spending their time amongst one billion Facebook users, watching four billion videos on YouTube every day and actively tweeting with 200 million people. In the UK, we divide our time across 11 media devices per household and choose to research products across 22 websites before making a purchase decision.

So the key to consistency is data intelligence, but commercial advantage is found in how a brand creatively applies it to their marketing.

Being commercially creative means two things: firstly, you need to be able to have great ideas that sell products. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you need to apply great ideas that enhance and protect brand image.

3. Be collaborative

We believe that in a successful 21st century agency, creativity must be found in every team and that includes our clients. Technologists are as close to user experience as strategists are to copywriters. Developing an effective agency service is about collaboration, and that’s why problems are better solved when the best minds are in the room. For some brands just getting the basics of marketing in place is still the priority, but for many it’s about maximising efficiency through effective collaboration.

We don’t believe the future is about rigid agency models, with roles so keenly defined that the result is akin to sterile, Swiss-like constancy. While such a model might be suited to offering brands ‘dependability’, the only thing you can truly depend on is the market outpacing, outfoxing and outgunning you.

At AgencyUK, we pride ourselves on our independence, which allows us to work collaboratively and freely in the best interests of our clients and our people. We encourage each individual to think of themselves as an influencer, one who remains alive to changes in technology, trends and tastes.

It’s a holistic approach and a habitual one. In other words, it’s in our nature. And nature evolves.

This article originally appeared in The Drum on 2nd September 2015.