The creative agency evolution in a social-first world

Commonwealth McCann’s Andrej Arsenijevic says social media commands attention as a leading and integrated channel

In the dynamic media landscape, agencies and brands are relinquishing power to people on social media. The rise of social media has completely turned our industry upside down.

As a consumer, I feel empowered to have a voice, and as an ECD, I take the power of the consumer seriously. Just look at the effect of social media and subsequent widespread boycotts of some brands; it not only impacts the brand profile but also hits their financial share price and earnings.

A few years back, our agency group embraced a shift towards prioritising social media, a strategic pivot that required client collaboration and a willingness to innovate with our content strategies.

The outcomes have been illuminating. Some of our clients experienced a remarkable upsurge in active engagement (the sum of comments, shares and saves), positive sentiment and community growth.


Previously, social media creative was an afterthought or a campaign add-on. But today, social media commands attention as a leading and integrated channel, given its ever-increasing contribution to growth in a brand’s profile and business.

Many smaller agencies transformed to adopt a social media-first approach and grew exponentially. But here is the thing: brands struggle for visibility because of the enormous amount of content.

According to LocaliQ, 625 million videos are viewed every minute, just on TikTok. There are two options for brands to be visible: Big media budgets or un skippable and engaging creative content. That’s why creativity and the social media team must go hand in hand.


There are still too many briefs in the industry asking to focus on trends, a tactic that barely inserts brands into existing mainstream culture conversations. However, authentic engagement, which cultivates brand narrative and advocacy, comes from the ability to embed your brand into culture.

For all the creatives out there, I sincerely hope you have a social analyst on your team and are best friends with them.


The creative agency should be like a great football team. Each member plays a unique role in harmony with a team goal.

In that sense, creatives must be at the heart of creating work for social media. Creatives ensure that big ideas and brand voices deliver a premium, authentic, consistent voice. With media consumption being so dispersed, brand consistency is paramount.

Through various tools in MCN, we can analyse the consistency of the brand’s social voice and pinpoint what to improve. Without consistency, you risk the brand going unnoticed regardless of the budget spent.


With the rise of TikTok and image generating AI tools, visual trends are in constant flux. These trends are shaping the culture zeitgeist that brands must adeptly navigate. Crafting a brand’s presence to be both distinct and platform-appropriate is essential. It’s like going to a music festival and choosing the proper attire.

Our native content approach on TikTok for our clients increased engagement four times and more than doubled platform views in some cases.


From our experience, entertaining and visually engaging content works well on social. This is a fantastic opportunity for creatives to play. What we have here is the brief to make the content fun or else risk being irrelevant.

But the platform is constantly changing, and an algorithm is evolving. Success on such a platform relies not on hacking algorithms but on fostering a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement supported by clients who share this vision. Learn from best practices and then change them.


We must protect it at all costs. Authenticity fosters trust, a cornerstone of a successful brand. We apply this principle when collaborating with influencers and other brands. They must be genuine and aligned with our client’s brand values.

What started as fake news is now threatening to infiltrate all the areas of social media. It’s getting harder to spot what is fake or misleading, and we must insist on keeping brand communication authentic and genuine. The power shift to social media is real, and all brands must find a way to fit in while staying strong and true to their unique identity.

By Andrej Arsenijevic, Executive Creative Director at Commonwealth McCann