Last Tuesday I attended a talk by Jonathan MacDonald, a rather bright consultant at www.thisfluidworld.com.
He talked to a crowd of agency CEO’s (and me) at Copernica DM Summit. I’d like to share some personal takeaways from his talk. Most of them not very new or complex, however, worthy of your time and great to chew on in the context of new business models.
Key to his story is that agencies of the future are more flexible, more adaptable to change. A story that could very well be applicable to any service company, not just agencies.
Our limited span of control
One of the trends Jonathan touched was ‘Socialisation of Industry’. “Brands are out of our hands. With Burger King, after all their efforts, the agency’s hard work, terrific strategy and design… ‘Burger King diabetes’ became the real campaign.”
Maybe the huge financial risk that comes with this development, is good a reason to reconsider large, long running, above-the-line branding campaigns. And design for more flexible, agile ‘bits’ of brand communication. In my opinion, agencies of the future find a way to design (and sell!) a process that enables agencies to be the Director of Storytelling through bits of communication at several brand touch points. Brand experiences that are pieces of a puzzle, and that add up to an outtake of the intended brand promise.
Another one of Jonathan’s observations is that at this moment, there is a very low entry point to market. Which entails a new market dynamic than we were used to. Businesses have to transform from ‘spiders’ to ‘star fish’ (they can grow new body parts when you cut them off). Being able to grow new initiatives and let go off other ones. Or even grow new companies from cut-off parts.
Also, agencies (and other consultancy driven companies) have to consider a mixed business model of ‘revenue diversification’. Revenue coming from selling hours, services/products and indirect revenues of third party monetisation.
6 consecutive steps to become an agency of the future – according to Jonathan
1. Identify & gain support from the most senior stakeholder you can find (it might be a shareholder, or business partner)
2. Filter & gather small teams of people with will, regardless of skill
3. Explore, without restriction of legacy, what could be possible
4. Find a client who is brave enough to test & learn (not fail or succes, learn!) with you
5. Initiate small flexible projects without promise or expectations
6. Learn from all outcomes, resist the term failure, and repeat from step 1
I sure think we could be more aware of a structured process that leads to the creation of small innovations, bits of creative output and to become a more ‘fluid’ agency.
Thanks for the talk Jonathan! Slide deck can be found over here: http://www.slideshare.net/Copernica/copernica-dm-summit-2012-the-future-of-agencies-keynote-jonathan-macdonald