Whichever business you are in, you need to advertise, but today, your brand also needs to have a presence in the digital and social space as well.
While most agencies nowadays offer digital and social solutions, this is not an area that they are fully competent in. On the other hand, agencies that specialize in digital do not offer mainline capabilities. In fact, going by their work, it seems they do not understand the rudiments of branding. You would have noticed any number of viral videos that are popular for a while, but you don’t get to hear anything from the brand after that. Most of the digital agencies don’t do consistently good work; the noticeable stuff they do is generally a flash in the pan.
As Maslow said, “If the hammer is the only tool you have, you will see every problem as a nail.” This is so true for the advertising industry. For the same marketing problem, a specialist agency will offer only solutions in what they specialize in. So it’s unrealistic to expect your agency to offer you solutions that fall outside of their set of competencies.
If you are the client, chances are you will need two agencies – one for traditional, and the other for digital. But this may not last for very long. The only reason digital agencies exist is because the practice is new. For instance there are no agencies that specialize in, say, print or radio.
Long ago, when television advertising was new in the US, initially there were creative people who specialized in TV commercials, while others focused only on print. Today the idea seems silly, and these are not seen as two separate set of competencies.
Point is, sooner than later, agencies will have to evolve to bring all the offerings under one roof. Digital advertising is integral to brand communications, and they wouldn’t have the luxury of not taking it on.
The best of agencies are already doing this. Alex Bogusky, formerly of Crispin Porter Bogusky, said in an interview that in his agency, the people who work on a brand develop all communication solutions, including digital. Perhaps that’s the reason the agency has done cutting edge work like Subservient Chicken and Whopper Sacrifice.
Recently our campaign for CompareMunafa.com made good use of outdoor, digital, print and social, and the brand communication spoke in one voice, leveraging the strength of each medium.
Not having expertise in digital will prevent an agency from developing holistic solutions.
Today, at least in India, digital is not the lead medium. But things are changing. As it has already happened abroad, soon digital spent will overtake television and print spent. Who knows one day traditional media might play a supporting role to digital.
Read- Building A Brand Without Advertising by Sabu Paul
So if you are a client what is the right thing to do? Who is your target group – is it those who consume more of digital media? For instance, if your brand is a washing soap, it makes little sense to do a huge digital campaign. Find out where your needs lie, judge the agency’s capabilities and make an informed decision. Better still choose an agency that is hybrid in nature. There are a few, and you will find them if you look around. That way, you wouldn’t have to walk the tightrope, balancing two agencies. And the integrated solutions your agency comes up with will have both traditional and digital/social components, ensuring that the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts.