In case you haven't noticed, "digital agencies" are springing up all over the place. Even old-order, legacy advertising agencies will tell you, with a straight face, they are now digital ready. It seems like everywhere you look, there's some sort of agency. What the world needs is the digital agency of the future. Let's have a look at just exactly what that means.
- By Rishad Sukhia
The concept of 'digital' is (as we know) always changing, creating the need for your brand to keep an eye toward the future as you work to grow your business using technology to connect with customers. So, it would seem that brands don't need just any run-of-the-mill agency billing itself as 'digital'.
The challenge facing digital agencies (and our customers)
The definition of a 'digital agency' is always changing in response to consumer trends - and the recognition thereof may very well be the key tenet defining a digital agency.
Consumers have been treated to the advancement of faster and converging online services - specifically social, local, and mobile (termed SoLoMo). From a consumer's view, it is expected that any service should be available across multiple digital platforms, as well as the (physical) retail experience.
This means that you, the brand, should engage across all of them, blurring the lines between what the physical and digital experience will offer, leading to a more complete customer experience. Sometimes brands don't necessarily budget (time, money, resources or a combination of these) for the increase effort required to deliver the complete package.
Hence agencies, as service providers, are faced with a never-ending game of chase with the consumers, embracing emerging technologies, delivering across platforms and producing innovative creative, all while furthering the business operations of the agency itself.
What is the agency of the future?
Simply put, a digital agency connects brands with audiences using new media technologies. We do so using all the tools and techniques available in the digital space - websites, social media, premium content, video, SEO, mobile platforms, gamification, localisation, re-targeting, personalisation, geo-fencing, and whatever else is available.
The agency of the future is your gateway to be more than simply "present and accounted for" in the digital space, but rather connected to customers. A digital agency worthy of its title and your time is adaptive and proactive in embracing the evolving digital landscape as applicable to your unique business.
The relationship is a two-way street - a collaboration that helps you reach your goals.
1. Global Focus
One of the most important features of the agency of the future is a global mindset. The digital space has far fewer boundaries than a political map of the world. A successful agency recognises this and helps your brand connect with audience around the world, crossing language and cultural borders.
Social media is a force to be reckoned with. With the vast majority of digital users embracing social media platforms, the agency of tomorrow understands social media at its core - and that it's a changing landscape within digital itself.
Transmedia storytelling across multiple technologies is the underlying backbone of the digital agency of the future. An agency cannot afford to get stuck on one platform and ignore emerging platforms and trends, anything that is getting embraced by audiences. The forward-thinking agency has a staff that is willing and able to change with the technological times, and use all the available tools to further your brand's message.
Don't be deceived by agencies that focus on big data or bleeding-edge creative, but not both. The two go hand-in-hand in digital. The expert use of data tells creative when they are headed in the right direction. How else will they know? The agency of the future places equal value on data and creative, and aligns the goals and actions of both in accordance with the goals of your business.
The agency of tomorrow knows how to gauge results and reactions and adapt accordingly. The digital space is constantly evolving, and the successful agency knows how to usher in change while helping your business gain a competitive edge with real-time responsiveness.
Brands react to their consumers, and these days, consumers enjoy more and more new means by which to exchange ideas and social currency all the time. The best way for your brand to handle the continual evolution of digital is to work with an agency of the future that is as excited about emergent technology as your audience is - and that can move fluidly with the waves of change that crop up in the vast digital expanse day after day.
Is your brand ready for the future?