OPINION: One stop shop? What a bunch of baloney

Michael Hyde
By Michael Hyde | 18 September 2012

Saying there’s rivalry between media and creative agencies could be the definition of stating the obvious. Having spent my career working across both media and creative agencies, I have an understanding of both sides of the agency fence.

Having seen things from both angles, I am more convinced than ever of the value that each discipline can bring and of the importance of maintaining a separation between the two rather than a move to full service as some in the industry have predicted. Distance between both disciplines ensures we each look at a client’s business challenge with a unique perspective.

The reality is that media and creative agencies compete for share of voice, respect from the client and of course, budget. For the most part, we’re able to work happily side by side. We are co-briefed by clients and we generally co-author our responses, though obviously differing points-of-view and the occasional conflict can emerge.

Our clients are constantly challenging all their agencies to bring new ideas and innovations to the table. We need to work together to keep pace with the rate of change in the ‘digitally normal’ world. But we also truly need the varying viewpoints, contacts, knowledge and scope that are unique to each type of agency, combining the resources of both sides, to do our best work.

Everyday new ways to connect are unearthed, invented, monetized and presented – usually by media owners or companies with cultures of innovation – to the media agencies. Due to our access and ability to leverage and integrate investment, good media agencies tend to be at the forefront of emerging consumer engagement and connection moments.

However, at the end of the plan, a media innovation without an idea running through it is simply white space and grey noise.

We need a great brand idea to run through new engagement opportunities and connection moments. And this is where the strength of the creative agency lies. While media agencies can engage and connect, those moments are empty without the right transfer of meaning; what are we saying, what is the nudge, what is the motivation we are tapping?

This is why we need each other. Media agencies are on the coal face of the new. The strategic media agencies are then able to use insight into how people relate with communications, media and brand meaning to develop the ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘where’ of connection, engagement and action.

Moments are one side of the coin, the other is the brand meaning that runs through these opportunities. The construction of a message, the way people participate and experience the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the brand idea is what the creative agencies bring.

Working together, but as separate operations, allows both of us to transcend our traditional strategy spheres. Coming at a brief from different directions keeps us at the pointy end of not only knowing what is changing in the industry, but how to make the most it, how to create meaningful brand experiences for our audiences.

This is what our clients are asking when they challenge us to bring media and creative innovation to the table. By each maintaining our independence, we will continue to compete, to challenge each other, develop and deliver new ideas, and most importantly, to drive optimum results for our clients.

Michael Hyde
Head of Business Strategy
Carat Melbourne

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