Collaboration is the ad agency model of the future – Creative leaders

By Zion Rufus

Changes in livelihood and consumerism have prompted marketers and ad agencies to reevaluate their campaign strategies.  Companies have begun to adapt by finding alternate resources for expertise, forming new partnerships, and in-housing, a move that helps brands to cut agency fees and allow clients to more efficiently combine creativity and business under one roof.

To remain viable, creative agencies have responded to the evolving marketing trends by abandoning their old agency of record practices to instead canvass for collaborations so as to deliver greater benefits to their clients.

“Collaboration will be very important going into this year (2022) and even years to come,” stated Lanre Adisa, CEO Noah’s Ark Communications.

“But how well are we finding the partners to collaborate with? How do we bring our own skills set to what they know and what they do so that the clients can actually get better value for their investments?” the creative leader asked.

A recent report from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and The Observatory International revealed that the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the move to bring creative operations in-house, with creative in-housing at 57% among multinational companies. The statistics showed a decline for ad agencies.

According to the report’s findings, growth in digital opportunities led to a rise in in-house agencies, with 74% being established in the last five years. In just the past year, businesses like Nestlé, Hertz and Anheuser-Busch have jumped on the trend.

Approximately 37% of creative output now comes from in-house teams; however, brands with in-housing departments are still open to ad agencies input, with 40% allowing them to pitch against each other for projects.

8“The traditional agency model does not allow for real-time discovery (trends and insights), always-on engagement (communications) across platforms, sales and conversion (creative commerce), and monitoring and control (evaluation),” said Franklin Ozekhome, Strategy and Planning Director at Insight Publicis.

“It’s all about delivering value for the clients, and it should be done however best we can. Marketers are losing sleep searching for newer ways of circumnavigating this seemingly endless loop of ideation to development to management and execution. They want to be able to respond real-time to consumers and vice-versa as events occur, especially if they are to borrow the design thinking mindset of startups that focus on product development, prototyping, testing, iteration and launch to market at speed,” Ozekhome noted.

Meanwhile, noting that clients are more interested in the solutions agencies provide for them, Jude Odia, Managing Director of Starcom Media Perspectives has challenged practitioners to collaborate with the existing players in marketing ecosystem to enhance their value offering and revenue generation channels.

He said: “We must re-define competition really because sometimes where you really need help, it is those people you perceive as competition that comes to help. It is about understanding how to innovate and know that the person you compete with today is not necessarily your enemy tomorrow.”

However, AAAN President and CEO X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko has revealed that the member agencies are “more than ready to partner with the candidates to create memorable campaigns and take their messages to town”.

“This is what we do best and we hope the various parties and candidates will prioritize working with Nigerian Agencies, as opposed to spending scarce foreign exchange hiring foreign agencies with zero understanding of the cultural nuances of our great country.”


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