The Connected AgencyTweet
Over at Forrester, Mary Beth Kemp and Peter Kim have published a report titled, "The Connected Agency." As Mary Beth Kemp explained to me during a conversation, they believe that as consumers trust brands less, the interactive and advertising agencies will have to get closer to the consumers. Getting closer to the consumers means nurturing consumer connections and facilitating conversations. Mary Beth and Peter believe that within five years the agencies will get closer to the consumer communities and will eventually become an integral part of them.
I couldn't agree more and it supports the Social Influence Marketing thesis. Consumers aren't trusting brands as much as they used to, they're trusting and are being influenced much more by each other. It's not a new concept by any means but with the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of social networking websites, it is getting a lot more important.
In my conversation with Mary Beth Kemp I did raise two points that were bothering me - how much can an agency facilitate conversations and nurture connections? I feel this is primarily a job for the brands themselves. They need to become participants in the conversations and connect with their own consumers more directly. Outsourcing those activities to agencies won't be healthy.
Secondly, I'm not sure if I agree with the point that within five years the agencies will get closer to the consumer communities. The reality, at least at Avenue A | Razorfish, is that we're very much a part of those consumer communities. Our employees participate in them everyday as individuals with strong personal identities. In fact, we specifically recruit employees who are active online. Our agency doesn't need to have a formal voice in those communities if that's what the report implies. We're there already in a multitude of ways. I'm sure this is the case with other agencies too.
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