We all know the saying, "brands/clients do not have control of how, what and when consumers interact with their brand" and that brands are now in the hands of consumers. If this is the environment in which we operate then the next logical step for an agency is to insert their clients in the spaces and areas where their consumers are, in order to drive uptake, brand love and sales.
The right questions must be asked though: does the agency ecosystem slow our clients down from innovating in these spaces? Is it possible to engage with consumers on a smaller scale, with memorable interactions or moments that are really out of our (client and brand) control while putting them in the hands of the consumer?
We are in an age where content has become the primary means in which to create meaningful and lasting engagement with our consumers, not adverts! It is therefore logical that agencies should be willing to work within these channels and with platform owners that are already creating engaging content for their consumers.
This seems pretty obvious right...? Well it is, but only if we as agencies (and brands) become a little more nimble in the process. Working with content creators and their platforms means you have to trust that they know their audience really well and is the right type of content that will work for a specific audience.
Trust in the content created and we (the agencies) must be flexible enough to let them do this work, quickly, by removing the agency bureaucracy that often stifles these initiatives from looking like true content/platform integration as opposed to an advertorial piece.
Coca-Cola in the US has recognised this and developed “Coke Forward” initiatives where they conduct low-cost, exploratory programmes with promising but previously untested partners. This allows them the room to successfully activate various experimental partnerships, quickly, by working with platform/content owners directly, thereby cutting the time launched to market.
So the challenge is not only for brands but to us as agencies too, to find room to experiment and learn by cutting out the steps and just going with what I can describe best as “what feels natural”. Your consumers will love you for it and as clients and agencies we can argue about the process later.
Think different and do great work!