Organisational re-engineering has become top priority for an industry with little experience of corporate restructuring – advertising and marketing.
To get the job done, ad agencies will be borrowing the blueprint from their clients.
So says Clint Bryce, executive creative director (digital) at Hunt Lascaris, one of the country’s biggest advertising agencies.
He says corporate clients ‘broke down the silos’ to secure new millennium growth. And agencies seeking a bigger share of the future have to do something similar.
Bryce believes flatter, smarter, faster and more collaborative ad agency structures have become an urgent necessity and are in the first stages of implementation at some advertising businesses.
“Big corporates got it right 10, even 15 years ago,” says Bryce. “Silo thinking has to go. Flatter structures and multi-disciplinary processes are more appropriate when integrated campaigns usually deliver the best results for clients and potentially the best earnings for agencies.
“Agencies had a front-row seat when big clients re-engineered their businesses, but preferred to stick with time-honoured approaches to message-based advertising.
“Not any more. Competitive pressure and advances by digital formats mean inertia is no longer an option.”
Organisational challenges are compounded by “silo creep” following media fragmentation and the emergence of new digital formats.
Silos include both disciplines (people) and media (channels):
- social and mobile media,
- user experience (UX), information architecture (IA) and interaction design specialisations
- promotions and competitions (Net-based and traditional)
- events and shopper marketing, and
- classic message-based advertising, with sub-sets like art direction, copy and design
Bryce says another challenge relates to culture. He adds: “Most creative workers from a digital base are comfortable in an open environment where collaboration is the norm.
“Classic advertising often favours a more closed environment in which copywriters and art directors sometimes lock themselves away until they crack the big ideas that create an emotional link with consumers and drive successful campaigns.
“The common currency is the big idea. This encourages shared discourse that will enable the two cultures to come together and eventually converge.”
The good news is that cultural change and flatter structures are neither job-threatening nor career-limiting.
Bryce says his own job of ‘executive creative director (digital)’ is new. His task is to enable digital fulfilment of creative ideas that could play out across multiple channels. The job is new locally, but mimics some international developments.
Another new post is that of chief digital officer, a hybrid executive responsible for both marketing and technology functions.
Bryce predicts growth and new career opportunities.
“Convergence of creativity and technology has the potential to drive exceptional growth in the marketing and advertising industry,” he says. “Some larger agency groups with strengths across both traditional and non-traditional platforms realise this.
“At the moment, it’s a silent revolution because re-engineering is work in progress. This will change because getting it right bestows huge competitive advantage and ad agencies are not known for staying quiet when they can claim a unique selling proposition.”