Getting Engaged

The agency of the future? It’s all about the consumer. The value of the consumer to the overall advertising process has reached huge proportions and will continue to grow. On the agency side, we need to allow the lifestyle and age of the consumer to influence what we have to say and where and how we say it. The future is less about advertising and more about building brands that reflect consumers’ needs and wants.

We need to rethink how we do what we do, and look at how we gauge effectiveness in media via cost per rating point, reach, and frequency using real data. Future measurement techniques should also include engagement and collaboration. We’re happy to see that some agencies do train planners to integrate consumer insights, media creativity, and creative voice.

An obstacle to this new direction is agency compensation. We know it’s a long shot, but what if agencies were compensated on value rather than percentage of budget or time? Or, like Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Haggar Clothing Co., why not have profit-sharing partnerships between clients and agencies? Agencies should have an investment in the brands they’re building.

To be fair, some are already adapting to this way of thinking. Some of the new hot shops call themselves “holistic business solvers” that offer “360 brand solutions,” where advertising is only one-fifth of their total business. What does this mean for our future? We’re hoping for really good jobs when we graduate!

Kerry O’Connell, Kumar Kanagasabapathy, Chanda Johnson, Mike Karnjanaprakorn, and Josh Brandau

Ed. Note: This is the last in a series of pieces by graduate students in the Media program at the Virginia Commonwealth University AdCenter.

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