The connected agencyDavid Patrick
There’s now a new picture of the future of communications agencies. Gone are the days when agencies could simply use mass marketing tools to target groups by geography or age. A new concept has emerged – the connected agency. An agency that gets under the skin of its audiences to the point of membership, and only when it has attained the trust of a community can it introduce brands to them.
One example that we’re involved with is to look at communities formed on large housing estates in Staffordshire. Particularly those with a high proliferation of social and council housing. We’ve found those communnities are still held together through geography. Recent research, undertaken by Staffordshire University in conjunction with Yes, discovered that 87% of people who lived in council houses in housing estates felt part of their community as opposed to 33% of those people who lived in private housing. People who lived in council housing were more likely to have micro-communities within their pubs, social clubs and at bingo where opinions are exchanged and formed.
So, whilst community marketing is the future, the old disciplines still apply – getting under the skin of your audience and keeping them at the heart of everything you do. The connected agency uniquely engages with its communities – regardless of who they are and how they operate. We’d even go so far as to say that those agencies that stick to doing what they’ve always done will fall by the wayside. Mass marketing and traditional demographics simply will not have a place in modern advertising.
The agencies that will out-perform their contemporaries over the next decade will be those who truly put the consumer at the heart of everything they do, seeing their role as identifying which brands to introduce to those communities and introducing them in a timely, appropriate and insightful fashion. Only then will we create an army of brand advocates and build powerful customer relationships that will sustain our brands now and for the future.