HOW IS THE AGENCY MODEL CHANGING?
The traditional model of ad/media/PR agency has been blown apart by social media. To implement social media, in-full and properly, you need to be able to execute every aspect/discipline on the marketing spectrum. This insight has guided our evolution and has led us to become truly full-service, including in-house film production and even data science. Agencies that are not agile are also being left behind rapidly.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE THAT YOU DIDN’T FIVE YEARS AGO?
Getting clients to understand the power and necessity of proper research and long-term brand building. The urgency for tactical execution can sometimes compromise long-term success. Short-termism and the tendency to jump on trends instead of doing things properly. Our agile nature allows us to move quickly and adapt, but we still revert to proper strategy and ROI measures. We have to.
WHAT HAVE CLIENTS STARTED ASKING FOR IN THE PAST YEAR?
More for less. We’ve also seen a lot of demand for dedicated teams, which so often stifles creativity as budgets get absorbed on unnecessary hours. We’ve seen a significant rise in briefs that prescribe social-first strategy deliverables also, which can be limiting, but social almost always plays a role.
HOW ARE CONSUMERS CHANGING, AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOUR WORK?
They’re much younger all of a sudden, with Gen Z now earning and spending as full-on consumers. Gen Z mentalities, behaviours and demands are different – more complex and ever-changing. This has made us stop and think about how we stay ahead in this regard. Our solution to this is ‘Z House’, a mini agency within the agency; a think tank of teens and 20-somethings across MENA who have shaped strong campaigns for us already.
Next would be the consumer demand to be understood. Consumers know you have their data and they know brands can communicate with them at will. Therefore, brands (we) must get it right. Get it wrong and the consumer will be quick to take to social and complain.
WHAT EFFECT IS TECHNOLOGY HAVING ON YOUR BUSINESS?
Data is helping us immensely. The availability of data is profound and that comes from the rapid shift to digital-media-first strategies and social media. This feeds our strategy team, where data science is embedded, which enables more informed creative and successful campaigns, with clear ROI for clients. But we are de-valuing primary research, and this cannot happen. We need both, together. At the production end, we have UX and experience design, 3D animation and AR design teams to keep up with increased demand there.