Transformation, the advertising buzzword for 2010 and beyond
Have you transformed yet? If not, you better hurry up. Because everyone else has either transformed or is in the process of transforming. Themselves. Their business. Their companies.
If you work in the advertising industry, you may already be tired of the word and the topic. It was the theme of the 4A’s San Francisco conference and remains the subject of blog posts, conferences, and keynote addresses wherever you go.
Of course the reason for all the attention is this: transforming is hard. It calls for new skills, new people, and new processes. And if you’re an ad agency, with the making of messages and the buying of media baked into your DNA, becoming digital (which is what transformation is all about) takes a huge commitment of time, effort and even money.
The good news is we live in the age of social media, so it’s easier than ever for those who have made progress to willingly share their experiences, failures, successes and recommendations. In fact I’m off to Philadelphia next Tuesday to join some really smart people — Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, VivaKi; Andrew Deitchman, Founding Partner, Mother; Scott McCormick, Chief Vision Officer, VML; John Paulson, CEO, G2 USA; Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus; and moderator Nancy Hill, President-CEO, 4A’s – to talk about the very subject.
No doubt there should be an active Twitter stream capturing at least a few worthy sound bites. And in all likelihood a few good blog posts after the fact. But if you’re in Philadelphia on Tuesday, stop by or try and register in advance. Looks like the 4A’s site is down as I write this, but this link to a cached page details the event.
And if you’re interested, take a look at the questionnaire prepared by 4A’s President Nancy Hill. See if you can answer these questions with any sense of authority. If so, you’re on your way to being transformed.
I'm not sure some people understand the difference between CHANGE and TRANSFORMATION. Many agencies are changing to accept that social media is a valuable marketing tool. However, most still don't embrace how it is transforming advertising and marketing. Developing a Facebook and Twitter account for a brand and then putting the icons on a TV spot is a change. Transformation is embracing media in a whole new light. EVERYTHING must generate a discussion. Think of the Tasters Choice couple from the 90s. When the ads stopped people wrote the company asking about this imaginary couple. Oh by the way, we didn’t ever get their names so we called them the Tasters Choice Couple. What a great way to connect with coffee! In this day of TIVO that is what more commercials need to be doing. Get consumers to discuss your product and provide them the places to do it. Even be so bold as to build the tools to let them create content about your brand. Millennials use social media to help validate their decisions with their peers.
Transformational agencies are looking at what life may be like in the future to try and anticipate how advertising will be affected. Let’s take a few areas for consideration…
If TVs are now coming out where you can access your social media accounts then how long before hyperlinks work on commercials? What about being able to click on a product in a show to get more information about it? If kids can find the tools to “Autotune the News” then what is next? How can that be used to get them to interact with the brand beyond a discussion? How do we get people to stop TIVOing through commercials? Millennials communicate a different way and have different beliefs. The good agencies are looking how to hold the conversation on the terms of the Millennials.
I believe that agencies/companies can say they are transforming when all their forms of media stop trying to broadcast (push) messaging but rather allow consumers to pull the content they need or to join in a discussion with others to make an informed decision. Yes, I do believe that TV commercials will become more interactive with consumers and I believe there are ways to do that with today’s technology!
What will this look like? People will talk about, and maybe even tune in to certain stations, to watch commercials throughout the year like they do for the Superbowl. Before that can happen they must stop being an interruption and instead provide valuable content. Isn’t it better to set our sites too high and fall short than to set them too low and achieve them?
There is no doubt in my mind that many do, especially Mullen. What many agencies seem to forget is that perception = reality for people. The agencies and big companies who "embrace" social media and other new ideas yet don't demonstrate that they "get it" are still too prevenlent. Blogs and Twitter are classic examples. I am amazed how many marketing leaders on both agency and client sides have blogs and twitter accounts but use them to broadcast and do not respond to those who engage with them. Part of the reason you and Ben are the first two blogs I read. The engagement makes me think, which makes me learn. That is what drives transformation.
I am sure that had I taken over the Army marketing account and Mullen was the agency in charge many things would have been VERY different and my perceptions of big agencies wouldn't be as they are. I know that I wouldn't have had to prod Mullen to design a campaign around an Army astronaut who I worked with to be the first person to Tweet from the International Space Station. I say this because I saw how innovative your agency was working the JAMRS account that had such a small budget in comparison.
@DavidALee No doubt this is what people should be doing. And most forward thinking agencies are. BBH, Deep Focus, EVB, Crispin, Mullen, lots of others. But for some it's hard to overcome legacy systems and actually think in new ways. Have to incorporate digital, tech, media, social media, propagation planning, etc. The best are beyond talking about it and just doing it already, experimenting and learning as they go. Which is what I recommend.
I downloaded the questionnaire, but got some crazy folder loaded with XML docs that launched Illustrator. Is there a PDF available?
These questions are really insightful, even after I adapt it from an agency focus to a personal focus. I guess being transformed needs more than meets the eye.