Whoever is late for the train, forever remains on the sidewalk

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Creative Agencies in the Role of Business Consultants

So much has happened in the past few years that today we could talk about marketing as a multidisciplinary field, which at its core is a cross between technology, strategy and communication. Advertising field, or branding, as a part of marketing, is significantly affected by new tendencies and revolution in technologies that we all witnessed. We are facing the arena in which the control does not only belong to companies (nor advertisers), yet as much (if not more) to the external world and external factors.  In this context, it is completely natural that transmedia approach and integration are absolutely necessary, rather than just desirable.

Applicability has become the key notion, as companies are in need of a relevant support in the process of establishing connections between product/service, company and the environment.  That being said, it is clear that advertising agencies are becoming a natural choice for strategic partners, which overcomes their primary function and enters the field of marketing and business consulting.  We could further conclude that the model of classic idea making is dead and trapped in the version of a creative agency from the early 2000s.

In practice, this is a transformation from ‘Communication and Marketing Consultant’ into ‘Business Consultant’ role, which puts creative potential and brand expansion in the function of business development. This sort of engagement implies serious comprehension of the client’s business, as well as knowledge of the forces that shape the market.

At the market in Serbia and region, this position, or more precisely creative agency’s function, is not fully articulated, which makes it harder for it to be employed in practice.

The example of our agency, McCann Belgrade, is at the same time an indicator and has been an inspiration for further development of this direction (e.g. campaigns for Bambi, Telekom Serbia and mts, Raiffeisen Bank and other). Worldwide, there are examples of far more interesting models, where consulting firms are passing onto creative industries territory. For instance, this new tendency is embodied in Deloitte, which developed a special sub-brand Deloitte Digital, offering a complete service and expertise from the world of digital communications. Even though unexpected, this form of function integration is a good example of direction in which business is developing as a response to the needs of the market– technology, communication and strategy combined. If the communication solutions are being generated from the business side, then creativity in the function of business will prove itself to be an even more successful formula.

The constant search for authentic and fresh solutions, as a kind of essence of the creative industry, needs to become imperative in the treatment of clients’ businesses; continuously re-question solutions, which will serve clients as a helping hand in the ever-changing universe of different communication channels and consumers.

Yet still, there are many companies concerned with selling ‘yesterday’s produce and services’ and not willing to discover or develop solutions, which might be of need in the near future. It appears that the habit of ‘adopting best practices’ is the fastest way to success. This phenomenon could be seen as a kind of industry crisis, but at the same time and opportunity to change something. We already reached that point.

Whoever is late for the train, forever remains on the sidewalk 1
Author: Katarina Pribićević, Strategic Planning Director of the McCann Belgrade