News & Views

Opinion / The Evolution of Agencies

by Contagious Contributor
Leo Burnett Worldwide's chairman and CEO, Tom Bernardin, and Global chief creative officer, Mark Tutssel, on how agencies have evolved from solving marketing problems to business problems

If we were to apply Moore’s Law to the marketing industry, more has changed in the last five years than the first 100 years, and more will change in the next 12 months than the past five years.

This rapid change is happening across the business world as many of our clients continue to experience massive shakeups to their products, the way they operate and the way they sell.

Clients no longer look to communications companies like Leo Burnett only to solve their marketing problems; they come to us to help fix some of their most pressing business problems.

It is imperative that a brand’s marketing strategy is aligned with its business agenda. As partners, do we have full comprehension of our clients’ business challenges? Is it a perception issue, an operational issue or a distribution issue?

Our mission is to use creativity to deliver market-altering results for brands that are immediate, impactful and participative. If we can’t deliver on this, we and other agencies will continue to be cut out of the equation.

It’s crucial to remember that the race isn’t about which agency offers the longest list of services; it’s about how we can be better equipped in this dynamic landscape.

To be ready to take on our clients’ business challenges, one way forward is increased specialization and integration.

Specialization can be done through partnerships, such as our collaboration with Huffington Post, Google and Amazon, as well as by building up internal capabilities. Agencies are investing in a broader range of resources to help clients compete in different scenarios with greater emphasis on upstream offerings.

Brands understand that they need continual innovation in this tech-led world before the next Uber disrupts their space. Hence, we launched Farmhouse to create products and services that are new and incremental to the market, solve people’s needs or wants, and are aligned with what the brand stands for. This has been a valuable upstream complement to our core business of solving our clients’ business challenges.

Clients need a partner to consolidate all these moving pieces into one integrated framework. All efforts need to link to maximize the overall brand message consistently across all channels.

One of our campaigns for Allstate, Social Savvy Burglar (above), exemplifies the results we can deliver when we specialize and integrate our resources. A shocking insight revealed that in this age of rampant over-sharing, 78 percent of burglars find their next target on social media. We took the power of creativity and strategically combined it with a Sugar Bowl spot, a live web platform and social media interactions to score a touchdown with 95 million media impressions and 33 million page views. Most importantly, we demonstrated value for our client’s business with an 18 percent increase in home insurance sales.

For an agency to survive and thrive, we need to understand the value we provide as a progressive agency that helps brands navigate this overwhelmingly complex marketplace by having the right breadth and depth, with a laser-sharp focus on integration.

Nonetheless, in the midst of an ever-shifting landscape, we must not deviate from this one constant truth: high creativity equates to great business success and the core objective of agencies is to use creativity to drive business for our clients.

Quite simply, creativity is the most valuable asset in business — and it’s never been more valuable than it is today in shaping the fortunes of brands.