Archive for June, 2009

Digital Agencies: “We’ll end up with a one-stop-shop model”

June 26, 2009

Thanks to top Social media commentator and friend/colleague, Rob Murray, for this. The VP of advertising for Coca Cola, Jonathon Mildenhall, has recently been quoted talking about his opinions on the ‘agency model’.

It’s interesting to hear from an influential brand, that a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution could be a favourable option. I wrote a post on this a while back that sparked a great deal of interest – which later led me to believe that a more segmented, specialist discipline approach was the way forward for digital agencies. But perhaps we are getting it right with the ‘Full Service’ tag line.

Also check out fellow agency man, Jon Marks (Head of Development at LBi) post on this subject.



What really makes a Great Digital Agency?

June 22, 2009

Strategic…Flexible…Proactive…Aside from the usual lacklustre buzz words we all churn out, I was looking for something more than the expected. We can all talk-the-talk, but it’s those who really get what makes an agency great who reap the rewards – even in this tough climate.

I asked a handful of the UK’s top digital agencies what they thought and got some thought provoking answers.

The guys at Grand Union were on fine form; “being driven by the ideas, not the technology”. EXACTLY. Time after time, I see marketeers look for the solution before working on the angle. Clients work to this mentality – not good agencies. If I hear that “we want to do something on Twitter, but we don’t know what” conversation again, I’ll cry!

Binal Shah from Front of Mind also gave an inspiring response. “Being able to deliver original and workable ideas with personality, honesty and enthusiasm.” I like this; Honesty does make a good digital agency.

MD of (Untitled), Rob Hollands dropped in a response that would keep the clients smiling. “Digital agencies should have the ability to get to the heart of their clients business…and ultimately deliver an outstanding return on investment.” He’s right, being able to understand a client’s business model intimately is vital. And so is delivering a return – whether that’s sales, exposure or awareness – it’s their goal that counts, and certainly not a shiny design award in the agencies trophy cabinet.

This said, creativity is key to a great digital agency. After all, we’re the ones who push the boundaries for our clients in terms of digital innovation. But don’t get this confused with creativity just for creativities sake. Director of Collective, Adam Cleaver’s response It goes without saying but, creativity is critical. But this isn’t creativity for its own sake, it’s creativity that utilises technology to do more than entertain, but to deliver usefulness.” – This reminds me of my client team at Redweb’s mantra – “form follows function”.

But surely something’s got to be said about the clients themselves. They can follow like sheep – “This agency works with XXXX – that must make them great” – not entirely true, but it’s a harsh reality of the industry we work in.

In short, there’s no one attribute that makes a truly great digital agency. But those who are capturing the essence of what digital is all about are getting closest. We’re not here to boost our own egos by creating Picasso-esque masterpieces. And we’re not here to pretend we’re always right and deliver a solution that’s a best guess. A great digital agency is the one that adds true value to a client’s business model through digital solutions. One that delivers, exceeds and surpasses.

What makes a great Digital Agency?

What makes a great Digital Agency?

The Perception of Digital Agencies

June 12, 2009

Taken from a blog post by the Managing Partner of a Technology firm in the USA (remaining un-named!) and brought to my attention by friend and colleague, Andrew Moore. One word – Hilarious!


Digital Agencies: Why is the final 5% of a project always the hardest?

June 10, 2009

Why is the last 5% of a project always the hardest? – Has everyone just lost the enthusiasm and motivation nearing the end – or are we all just anticipating that next, hopefully even more exciting project…?

It all comes down to psychology. A new project is shiny, new, fresh and unspoilt. It’s an exciting time for both client and agency. Everyone involved is super responsive, keen and alert, inspiring all to get the job done. But love the moment, because it doesn’t last for long.

I’m not saying by the end of a 5/6 month project, we’re all ready to keel over or retire to the Maldives – however appealing the white sand and crystal water does seem – we need to remember why we started the project – the objectives, the purpose and the idea. But even more significantly we need to re-establish the client expectations of a finished project. Many project failures come when agencies don’t realise how close they were to success when they called it a day.

Some people relish the final run-in. The pressure and tension to deliver is their carrot on a stick.  These are the guys you want around you in your team. Not the ones who fear the final bug list or ignore the ringing telephone.

Set the stage for the finishing line for the project, re-gain focus and communication and keep ultra organised is my advice. Lock the team away in a room without Twitter if you have to.

The last 5% is without doubt, the hardest to overcome. But remembering you’ve come 95% of the way already should be the driving force to bring it home.

The final 5% is always the hardest

The final 5% is always the hardest

Digital Agencies: It pays to think BIG

June 2, 2009

Waiting patiently at Waterloo station the other afternoon, I was forced to stare at a huge billboard poster from the Daily Telegraph’s new advertising campaign – ‘It pays to think big’. Take note digital agencies; this is exactly what you should be doing.

I’ve seen so many Digital Agencies of late playing follow the leader. Churning out the same old ideas, using the same old technologies, sticking to what they know best – It’s safe, but it’s not going to get you noticed. Digital agencies need to consider that special word – ‘Innovation’.

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat”

Digital agencies are the life-blood of digital innovation. We’re the ones who our clients call when they need help thinking of new campaign ideas or coming up with new methods of communication delivery. So we need to be ready with our finger on the pulse.

“Grasp on newer technologies and know what’s moving, what’s shaking, and what could be interesting to use in order to achieve a different interface with people” says Lars Bastholm, Chief Creative Digital Office at Ogilvy.

The big agencies dominate digital innovation – Take AKQA and the Nike PHOTOid for example, probably one of the biggest and best innovations in the past 12 months. But who says smaller agencies can’t make a name for themselves by breaking the mould and creating digital output that’s unique, exciting and most of all…different.

Big ideas don’t have to be complicated. OK, they may take a bit more thought, but who says thinking outside of the box has to stop everyone in their tracks. And don’t think you’re going to get it right every time. If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.

Although many still view digital as a side dish to the main marketing meal, clients are becoming increasingly digital reliant and demanding the best ideas. So be brave, think of the bigger picture and pitch an idea to your client that’s completely off the wall.

Digital Agencies: It pays to think big.

Digital Agencies: It pays to think big.