Hugh’s been writing about the business model of ad agencies and how it’s becoming defunct.
Partly, this is about revenue being based on promotional activity; meaning agencies get rewarded for making noise rather than supporting innovation; for dressing things up rather than seeing the potential of the gaps.
The other part, I think, is that agencies are stuck thinking: we’re the smart ones, let us come and put some of our ideas into your business.
I don’t think either part will work so well in a conversational economy. There, great ideas will probably evolve from the lively, smart conversations companies have – directly – with their customers.
For me, smart conversations require a certain amount of courage, taking risks to speak uncomfortable truths. That’s not a strong suit for many agencies, stuck in the wishful thinking business of dressing mutton as lamb.
I also think smart conversations allow us to explore with others the things we don’t know. Stepping into the unknown is not second nature to a business that likes to bluff…