A pretty packed room leaned in to change in a big way as Barry Wacksman, R/GA’s Chief Growth Officer took us through his agency’s credentials deck, disguised as a walk through 4 drivers of the change that you’re experiencing, whether you like it or not:
1. Changes in Clients: the earliest successful clients pursued horizontal integration (lots of products across one market). Then they followed the supply chain and came up with vertical integration (all the businesses needed in a lifecycle). The killer app now is functional integration. Or an ecosystem. No surprises that Apple is the poster child for this one.
2. Changes in Agencies: If you’ve got clients building ecosystems, then you probably can’t limit yourself to producing ads. No real news here, except that R/GA is putting some sweat where their mouth is and swapping work for equity in tech startups, running a kind of marketing-tinged incubator.
3. Changes in the Work: The Big Idea is, apparently, no longer enough. Now we need to think of something called the Whole Idea, which is a combination of top-down storytelling and bottom-up behavioural change. An exercise in semantics? Perhaps, but the audience seemed to be satisfied watching the ‘gritty realism’ of Beats case studies. Again.
4. Changes in Data: Another semantic shift here, this time from Big Data to Earned Data, which felt a little like a re-hash of Seth Godin’s original idea of ‘permission’, although sped up for the digital age. The case study for this one, however, was truly terrifying: a recipe indexing system that boils the wonderful world of food down to some kind of dewey decimal system for flavours. *burp*