Agency POV

>> Tuesday, July 14, 2009

There's considerable discussion happening online about a recent editorial in AdAge from Jonah Bloom about how to differentiate your agency and avoid "commoditization". As a marketer and agency leader, I find it fascinating, and right in line with what we are trying to accomplish. You can read it here:

"Stop the rot," as Jonah says. Now there's a call to action for our industry!

As agency professionals, we spend so much time helping our clients differentiate their brands that we often leave our own "brands" a bit generic. Sort of the like the shoe maker's childrens' shoes, as the saying goes.

As an agency, though, I do think it's really important to have something to say; to have a point of view.

Lots of agencies have been built around a core capability, in the very traditional sense. Advertising agencies. Digital agencies. RM agencies. Doesn't differentiate anymore.

Some agencies have been built around a target: kids agencies, boomer agencies, senior agencies.

Some built around size: network agencies, boutique agencies, consultancy agencies.

Some even around an industry: pharma agencies (like what we used to be), fashion agencies, food agencies.

A committed point of view can transcend all of those very traditional segments and can set you apart from the pack. From my vantage point, very few agencies have been built around a point of view.

Ours? Wellness. Not just a trend, but a real cultural shift that crosses industries, targets, borders, and media.

How else do you explain vanilla soy milk "light"?

Look at any category, and there is at least one brand that owns some sort of a wellness positioning. Cars that are safe. Mattresses that aid sleep. Yogurt that helps in digestion. Makeup that reduces wrinkles. Banks are even talking wellness these days, as they should.

We've built our wellness point of view around a firm understanding of how consumers view their wellness. We revel in our understanding of how they make daily choices that either improve it or reduce it. We understand how to build relationships with consumers surrounding their wellness.

Wellness gives us a reason to be here. Does that differentiate us, we think so. It certainly gives us a reason to commute to work everyday.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


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