The world has changed...
Almost overnight, successful products have turned into commodities, beloved brands have become fads and loyal customers have morphed into over-informed value-conscious brand-agnostic swingers.
To keep pace, marketers have had to quickly adapt, often expecting agencies to come up with solutions that go above and beyond their usual remit.
They ask for ideas, both big and small, that would not only make their brand famous, but also their products more useful and customers more satisfied.
Calling for deeper insights, smarter strategies and measurable results, they expect agencies to think on their feet and perform a hybrid role of business consultant, think tank, design studio and cultural change agent.
Out of this change in attitude, a new creative class has emerged. These are craftsmen with a knack for making broader connections. Polymaths who can turn business strategy, brand direction and customer insights into experiences customers drool about. These professionals possess both 'bigger-picture' vision and the ability to think through the smallest details.
This new breed of creatives drive innovation, push companies to reboot, teach them how to listen and how to talk to their customers. They spread it to the masses improving the way people shop, travel, communicate, learn, love, and, essentially, live. They focus on things that matter - inspiring people, making them more productive, helping them get the most out of their lives.
Over the years, R/GA
has championed the idea of platforms and campaigns. The idea manifests our fundamental belief that functional innovation and brand communications go hand in hand. The recent launch of O2 Priority Moments
illustrates this approach. A mobile platform that offers location-specific deals to O2 customers has become the foundation for the latest O2 ad campaign.
This project marks an interesting point in the client-agency relationship. When R/GA was asked to pitch, the request was to come back with fresh marketing ideas. However, the opportunity that R/GA saw was mostly around functional innovation - O2 was ideally positioned to build stronger relationships with its customers by rewarding them with unique location-specific offers and services. It was grounded in the insight that unlike other brands, O2 had an existing network of partners as well as a substantial base of smartphone users. The lacking component was the application layer, which R/GA pitched and later designed, branded and released as O2 Priority Moments. From the brand perspective the impact has been tremendous in terms of both sheer numbers and perceived customer value helping O2 further position itself not only as a communications but also services provider.
From the agency perspective, functional innovation will become increasingly in demand. With the growing variety and complexity of products and services, marketers will turn to agencies for more effective ways to communicate with consumers. For creatives this means a necessity to grow a strategic and technical muscle and a subsequent shift in the overall mind-set. Ilia Uvarov is creative director at R/GA, London