AI Won't Make Or Break Agency-Brand Relationships (Humans Will)

According to Havas research, 73% of brands could disappear overnight and no one would care. 

Sarah Collinson, CEO Havas New York and Dan Lucey Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer Havas New York, opened with that telling nugget about the challenge of brand building as they took to the stage on the last day of the ANA’s annual Masters of Marketing conference on Friday. 

As they noted on stage their agency (and others of course) is in the business of trying to create brands that people care about, relate to and even fall in love with. But as their research shows, it’s not that easy. 



Will AI help? Well, that’s the bet the industry seems to be making with many millions of dollars of investment although it’s still early days and Adland is very much in the learning stages of how to optimize AI for brands. 

More importantly, the duo emphasized, brands must continue to focus on optimizing their relationships with agencies. There’s room for improvement, they stressed, offering some advice on how that might be accomplished.  

One rule they offered: be on the same page when using jargony terms, like “workshop,” which means different things to different people. “Breakthrough” work can mean fresh and never been seen before or it may simply imply small tweaks to existing work.  

And despite the fact that work-from-home now seems to be fact of life for at least part of the work week, sometimes in-person real conversations are critical to maintaining positive relationships. No-Nos include emailing creative presentations to clients and conversely emailing feedback about presentations. 

Also, brands shouldn’t “punish people” for delivering edgy, disruptive ideas that they don’t like. Otherwise, agency creativity is stifled and one day the shop will come up with a big idea that could give a brand a huge lift but won’t because the agency doesn’t want to get smacked down for even suggesting it.  

As they noted, much of their proffered advice is not new but bears repeating because, well, we’re all human. We need reminders from time to time.  



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