Must Do Better
It’s ironic that agencies, which are in the business of telling companies how to build brands, have such poor brands themselves.
But it’s become increasingly critical that media agencies get better. Because the brand equity in their existing brands is low thanks to the on-going transparency issue, hitting growth prospects and potentially encouraging their customer base to consider other options.
Here at ID Comms, we are in the privileged position of seeing more agency material, visiting more agencies and seeing more presentations than is probably healthy. Even we can often find it hard to tell the agency brands apart.
Part of the challenge is that media agencies, unlike creative agencies, haven’t really needed brands until now. The move away from execution, however, now means that they need some kind of point of view.
Instead, they’re stuck with vanilla brands that are designed to be adaptable to all clients in all markets. This is best epitomised by the event round-ups they send out after the tentpole gatherings of the year, CES, Cannes and Dmexco; all of them, four-page pdfs, glossy and all identical.
The problem is that you can’t build a brand on a better book. Agency brands are not merchandising, you need to stand for something.
In the last couple of years there have been agency mergers and new agencies created that had the chance to do something different: Hearts & Science, Spark, Wavemaker. But they haven’t. Only Essence, which came from a different space, seems to stand slightly apart from the crowd.
Face with a choice of being radical or doing more of the same, it seems most agencies CEOs have opted for a vanilla by design approach.
The first agency network to stand for something has a huge opportunity to grow its brand (and its billings).