donderdag 30 oktober 2008

some thoughts on strategy and agencies

The agencies that will survive/thrive in the (near) future will be structured as the BDA’s (big dumb agencies) of today. They will be international conglomerates that do full service work and help the client grow successfully into profitable companies. Jusqu'ici tout va bien.

Ideology and recruitment
The main difference will be the following. The agencies will limit themselves to the clients they will assist. Some get it, some don’t. Those who do will get help. What that it is, we all know. It is not just bottom line, not just the lowest common denominator, not just satisfying the boss above you, not being non involved with the business, because you have no vested interest in the success or failure.

It’s a state of mind, a inner manifesto, based on part naïveté, part reckless ambition, part idealism, part stubborn feeling that there is a better way of doing things (this a personal view of the world, I admit, but go look at the people/things you admire and you will see these elements surface).

The problem with the agency of tomorrow is, the same as the discussion about the role of advertising in general in the future. It’s always from the angle of service. Submissively catering to the needs of the client. That has to change or everything else is just dryfucking.

Agencies need to choose clients, better yet not choose clients. It is neither the execution, nor the work nor the strategy; the fight is in alignment of worldviews and the destruction of institutionalizing effects. We want to have successful families with sound values that can grow and evolve, not one night stands.

For better or for worse we will need to demand from our clients that they state a point view publicly that is ours. The talk need to be about fundamental, not instrumental reasons for doing stuff/going about stuff. Middle or wing is detail work. But we have to demand a show of colour. It’s not about one word, brand energy or any tactical proprietary tool/system. It’s about ideology.

Business strategy will be more replaced by the achievement of audacious non business goals across multiple types of business (since you will have blue and red business in tech, food, logistics, non profit) and regions, religions that need to be achieved via business funds (think providing every kid in Tanzania with an education till the age of 16 instead of 12, or new technologies or what not). Multinational clients cram local territory, yet still function as silos when it comes to solving problems within the territory they operate in.

It’s the role of the agency of the future to pick businesses that fit a certain mould, connect them with local consultants from the agency, who will help the business grow and keep focus on the grander ideological goals. To spot business opportunities with other likeminded business to achieve growth.

Forget media neutral, transmedia, matchmaking is our business. Once again, fundamentals, not instuments. Instead of servicing one client we shift to becoming middlemen that connect those who can do more without us than with us interfering. That means design, movie producers, farmers, whoever can help solve the problem and advance the business towards the non-business goals.

to be continued


maandag 27 oktober 2008

note to self: strategy is...

"Real strategy lies not in figuring out what to do, but in devising ways to ensure that, compared to others, we actually do more of what everybody knows they should do."

"You can't achieve a competitive differentiation through things you do 'reasonably well most of the time.' "

"The necessary outcome of strategic planning is not analytical insight but resolve."

"Strategy is deciding whose business you are going to turn away."

David Maister (via TomPeters)