HOW AGENCIES CAN LEAD BRANDS INTO THE FUTURE OF DATA INSPIRED STORYTELLING
Updated: May 26, 2020
By Ami Murphy Iannone, Creative Director - January 07, 2019
Now is the dawn of a new era for advertising agencies.
Radical changes in the way that people consume media and interact with brands — ushered in by two-way social communication and ‘always on’ digital, mobile culture — both enable and necessitate a revolution in the way that brands understand their target consumers.
Historically, agencies served as the guide to the consumer. While a brand was the expert on creating a stellar product, the agency was the expert on understanding, reaching, and conveying the product’s value proposition to the consumer. Plus, they could make it look beautiful.
Agencies have always been home to the most creative players in the industry. Brilliant advertising is executed by artistic minds armed with a deep understanding of the brand’s challenges and the consumer’s desires.
The best agencies were (and still are) thought leaders for their clients. They provide strategic guidance based on a deep understanding of the client’s goals, the target consumers’ tastes, preferences, and habits, and the larger competitive marketplace. They execute on that strategic position with world-shaping creative talent.
It used to be a catchy jingle, a Draper-esque tagline, a neat magazine layout… the mediums have changed. But the deepest truths have not.
To effectively advertise, you must deeply understand the person you’re selling to and filter that knowledge through the prism of a talented creator.
While the truths remain, the methods for reaching and understanding consumers have dramatically changed with the proliferation of digital consumption. Understanding these changes can help us understand the current crossroads for modern agencies.
THE CONSUMPTION CONUNDRUM
Digital video is exploding in both production and consumption rates and this wealth of on-demand content availability is changing end-viewer consumption patterns. The medium has changed so dramatically that it has also morphed the surrounding culture. We are a media-consumption culture now. The Nielsen Total Audience Report from Q1 of 2018 reports that the average US adult aged 18 and older watches nearly 6 hours of video per day.
While the appetite for video continues to rise, the cost of producing video has declined due to the proliferation of easy-to-use technology. Just as the ability to create video has been democratized, so too has the means of distribution. As cord-cutting increases, digital networks battle for viewer screen time.
This cord-cutting can be directly attributed to the new patterns of consumption that audiences have come to expect from the flexibility of digital viewing. Audiences consume and engage with video differently across platforms. So businesses must not only make videos, but they must also make informed decisions on where and how to distribute that video content. The new consumer has Choice, Voice, and Control.
This revolution in digital video consumption provides a wealth of invaluable data on consumers.