Consumers are hoovering up more and more content – but that doesn’t mean that more is always better. In this article, published in our Agency of the Future supplement, founder and ECD of Impero Michael Scantlebury argues that agencies need to be a slower bur surer hand on the tiller for brand activity.
Brands will need to make more stuff, but we’ll be asked to make less of it. The world is getting faster, and audiences are getting more and more content hungry.
It’s no longer enough to take 12 months to plan a seasonal campaign and expect to be remembered by consumers beyond that. There is an ongoing arms race for attention and it’s not only been fought for by brands. The explosion of influencers, startups and clickbait websites are all vying for consumers fleeting minds - and that’s not to mention all our friends and connections who are now publishers too.
The unfortunate truth for us in agency land is that the stuff some of us produce to keep the lights on is becoming more and more disposable. Not because it doesn’t have value, but because it so quickly becomes yesterday’s news. The smart brands are adapting fast, and that’s a good thing - whether it’s a new streetwear collaboration, a mouldy Whopper or a giant tub of Oatley on a rooftop - some are cutting through and getting noticed.
But still, many remain stuck in the old way of thinking - and are wondering why their fortunes aren’t changing. This is only going to get more and more hectic. The generation of kids that are being brought up on instant TV, weekly streetwear ‘drops’ and 15 new pairs of Nike trainers available every week, have expectation levels set, and they’ll only go up. More and more, two things are becoming very apparent. Firstly, it seems that the brands that win vs the brands that don’t all share one thing in common - a healthy dose of impatience.
Thinking fast and slow
An impatience to get things into the world that grab attention and an impatience do it over and over and over again. They know that done is better than perfect and they have a cadence to their activities. They are prioritising attention over everything else. Secondly, this will have a big impact on agencies. I always think an agency should never be slower than a brand, but unfortunately, that’s what happens in a lot of circumstances.
Traditional agencies (you know, the so-called ‘big ones’) just aren’t that good at creating a lot of stuff fast. They’re slower than their clients, and so their clients are turning to culturally relevant content creators at all levels to put things into the world, and they are turning themselves into project managers to get projects out the door over and over again. By 2025 this will only be accentuated. This is no world for the slow. And this is no world for those who think they can do it all.
By 2025 agencies will be relied on a lot more for strategy, brand guardianship, creative platforms and insights but a hell of a lot less for production. Those that prosper will find a role in providing efficiency and connecting their clients to the right cultural content creators to get their work into the world.
Michael Scantlebury, founder and ECD of Impero