The Agency Challenge (from The Planning Lab)

The purpose of this blog is not to be an echo chamber for the rest of the web.  I repeat: the purpose of this blog is not to be an echo chamber for the rest of the web.  With that in mind, I’d like to re-post this piece written by Leon at his blog The Planning Lab.

Nov. 29, 2010

Today’s agency challenge isn’t digital thinking or innovation but a reality check.

Why?

Because too many agencies (i.e. offices with people that have advertising background and sell creative services to companies that want to sell more stuff and/or build their brand) see themselves as more than just advertising agencies. Which is fair when it comes to marketing yourself as the new hot shit. But a bit problematic, given the fact that zero advertising people throughout history have managed to come up with anything really innovative. Like the computer on the picture. Or even the cable that attaches to it. If advertising people could invent iPhones or come up with new search engine logarithms and be rich as f**ks, trust me they would.

An important reality check for us all.  However, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be trying to innovative, experiment, explore and make things.  In fact, I think it’s essential to being any good at this business at all, and not simply trying to mimic or improve on the last cool thing you saw.  The question I find myself asking is, “When?”, considering all unused brain power goes towards trying to keep up with what everyone else is currently doing, because, on some level, I deem it as being relevant.  The thing is, all those RSS feeds will never be as useful as real experience.  BBH Labs offers an interesting perspective in a post entitled, Think While You Make, Make While You Think and Mark Pollard makes a great argument for Why Strategists Should Make Stuff.  These posts ought to provide us with all the reasoning and motivation to get off our computers and do something.

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