Continued tightening of budget spend, increasing gaps becoming more prevalent in big agency structures and a newer, fresher way of thinking is forcing traditional agencies to relook at their structures and at the way in which they do business.
'Change with the times, or be left behind' seems to be a concern on many agency owner's minds.
Recent market research shows that there is a big shift in what brands want from their creative and marketing agencies. Just as manufacturing, logistics, finance and engineering industries are evolving to meet shifts in demand and the adoption of more technology, so is the marketing industry - arguably more so than the rest. As many experts continue to point out, the digital and physical worlds continue to merge and with this comes new challenges but also opportunity.
For some time, brands have been seeking a more targeted approach. Continued changes in industry trends and tighter budgets are driving the demand for a more collective and cost-effective approach, where brand DNA and messaging is not diluted, but shared across various platforms, accurately.
The result is changes to existing agency structure and new collectives being formed to offer a more comprehensive, information sharing and streamlined approach.
"The bottom line is that we have moved beyond the traditional marketing and creative agency structure," said Rob Baird, co-founder of recently launched creative collective, wrkshp. "Most brands today are no longer willing to source a selection of companies, all with different visions and budgets, to conceptualise and rollout the various campaign elements. We have found there is a growing demand to collaborate with one entity that will manage each element and ensure consistent brand messaging, while being budget conscious and keeping things simple, yet creative.
Forerunners in this collective approach, the new agency is a collection of five individuals specialised in branding, advertising, promotions, creative direction, digital development and strategy, public relations and talent management. What makes them different? "We are all business owners and experts in our fields who came together to form one powerful offering, pre-empting the need for the more collective approach."
Following years spent building up their individual companies, extensive market research and a little luck, the agency was born as the result of a demand for this 'single-voiced' and collective branding approach.
"We moved away from the traditional agency structure and more towards a collective and streamlined approach, as we knew this is what many of today's brands want and need. We foresee this need growing over the coming years as the industry continues to evolve."
It is possible to offer the power of a big agency with the agility of a consultancy. "The focus should be more on the power a collective brings. We chose to remain small and agile, although offering a variety of specialised services, so that we can evolve and adapt to fluctuations and changes by not only companies, but of consumerism as a whole. This is critical in today's fast-paced and evolving marketing environment.
"If you can't measure it, does it really exist? Ultimately, brands want good results, with every cent accounted for. The question remains: How will South African agencies respond to these changes in demand?"
For more information, go to www.wrkshp.co.za