To quote a little-known musician from the other side of the Atlantic, “the times, they are a-changin.’” A world in constant flux has left many people feeling unmoored and thirsty for an almighty shake-up. The old ways, they say, are simply not working anymore.
Media agencies would be wise to take heed.
In truth, you’d be foolish not to with so much going on. Indeed, where do you start with the innumerable triggers for this deep unease many of us are living with? Sky-high inflation. Unaffordable rents and mortgage repayments. Climate change. War. Political chaos. Artificial intelligence. The list goes on. The repercussions, meanwhile are only just starting to be felt.
From changing shopping habits and a growing distrust of institutions (that were hardly in a position of strength to begin with), to the automation of services and environmental concerns that are becoming increasingly politicised: the landscape upon which agencies are approaching 2024 is a shifting one.
So, the question is, how do we remain effective when the picture is constantly morphing?
One word springs to mind: flexibility.
While more and more brands were placing a premium on an agency’s ability to work quickly and nimbly pre-pandemic, the announcement of COVID on these shores sent demand into hyper-drive. With the nation hanging on the words of politicians and medical experts, no one quite knew what was going to happen tomorrow – let alone next month. We had to be ready for anything, and our business structures were altered accordingly.
This meant placing more trust in employees below the top tier of the hierarchy to make important decisions. It meant streamlining communications with clients and media suppliers. It meant upskilling to ensure we were equipped with the knowledge and tools to respond quickly. It meant always being on call.
With the initial trauma of the pandemic slowly ebbing into the background, other aforementioned challenges – some directly linked, some unforeseen – have emerged to occupy our focus. If you thought that things would calm down after the peaks of the pandemic then 2023 may have come as a bit of a shock.
But it needn’t be this way.
By ensuring we remain flexible in how we operate, and flexible in how we can help businesses, we’re future-proofing ourselves while increasing our value as others sit still.
Guerillascope, for example, has always prioritised agility – it’s what’s separated us from other agencies since our beginnings back in 2001. Sure, we had to adapt to fast-changing circumstances when lockdowns bought many industries to a screeching halt, but any teething problems were minimised; we were in a position of relative strength, and remain so today.
Now, we’re also diversifying our approach. While we remain a one-stop-shop for media planning and buying, we recognise that some businesses are now more interested in a partnership based on consultation. We’ve pivoted accordingly, granting clients a choice in how they choose to work with us in line with their ever-changing needs.
Agencies need to channel their inner chameleons.
They must adapt to new surroundings. There’s no longer a place for the bloated, rigid structures we used to see with networks in particular, hence why independent agencies have grown in popularity and some of the traditional big dogs have invested in boutique sub-strands.
With brands under increasing pressure to respond to various crises and the changes in behaviour they’re instigating, it’s on every agency to respond in kind. Answer this call, and there’s no reason why 2024 can’t be a golden year.