Examination day in adland

by Toon Diependaele - December 17, 2014

Last month we got confirmation that ACC Belgium (Association of Communication Companies in Belgium) found enough participating agencies to do a re-run of their independent Agency image and perception study beginning of 2015.

Being self-critical does not come cheap since each participating agency is putting the money on the table to fund this research, but it is the right reflex for a sector that is constantly evolving and changing. It is crucial to have a solid answer to the question of the needs, wants and desires of our clients in relation to the services provided by us as agency. Of course this is also a little bit the Pop-poll amongst the Belgian agencies and we are very curious to see who are the movers and shakers on the scale of vanity measure by awareness and perception, but there is much more.

Since the last research early 2012 the marketing world has changed a lot.  The spectrum of services that agencies offer is in full expansion and at the same time brands need help with more than just marketing. We are shifting in a lot of situations our value add away from the strategy long term to the big bang idea and timely delivery on what the client wants; reducing agencies to marketing factories. Of course there will be always a new kid on the block that is trending in a niche competency, outsmarting the long term partners, leveling out the playing field. Clients sometimes even tend to pick partners on a project basis as opposed to a long term basis and increasing the chairs around the table to dispatch micro assignments to each production cell. Pushing agencies further and further in the role of on demand production cells.

We all know we want to be our clients’ most valuable business partner, but how can we materialize this when today the majority of our interactions are subject to the timesheets, billing rates and fragmentation that stop and start in client meeting rooms without the deep dive on the bigger picture of the client.

In order for the partnership between agency and client to succeed and to create brand value by delivering delightful products, services and experiences we need to redefine our way of working together. And that is why the results of the survey will be the topic of discussion in numerous late night agency meeting rooms. Discussions will be a variation to the same theme: how to become more relevant for our clients and how to make them see the actual value of our work.

Agencies have by nature of their business brilliant creative and strategic minds that are exposed day in day out to a vast variety of challenges, opportunities and solutions; and in combination with the deep sector knowledge of the clients it has all the potential to create fireworks. If we are able to think beyond a creative idea and a nice visual, the agency of today can evolve to become the best placed business partner for brands.

Branding through delighting users with products and services requires clients with the openness to build a deeper relationship with the agency, one in which partnership revolves around trust and transparency. Let us not stare at PowerPoints, but in each other eyes when coming up with the solutions to your business problems.

Let’s kick this off with this ACC research that will help both of us to better understand your needs , wants and expectations allowing us to find an new way of working to get the maximum result out of our relationship, because at the end of the day , your success is ours.