Big or small?
In his first column, CEO Jens Krog ponders ways agencies can adjust their set-ups to best meet the demands of a world moving at breakneck speed.
These days most agencies are considering their organizational set-up. The number of potential solutions to clients’ problems is exploding: is the answer a new product, Marketing as a Service (MaaS), events, new distribution, partnerships, social media initiatives, a TV campaign? This raises important questions for management: how do we organize the creative process and what skills do we need?
If you agree that it requires new and more competences (compared to the traditional ad agency set-up) to deliver contemporary solutions, the next question is: should you have all (or most) competences within the organization or create a network of collaborative companies/freelancers?
Small doesn’t always equal efficient
These days it is natural to think ”small” – and to aspire to be fast and flexible. But when you are already ”big” (by Danish standards at least) you don’t become small overnight. There are also some obstacles in ”small” that need addressing.
Without the constant presence of practitioners of emerging disciplines (UX, community management etc) in your organization you risk missing opportunities and delivering substandard work. From a business perspective that is obviously not optimal and from a process perspective you run the risk of not being able to deliver in time and on budget.
On the other hand, a full service set-up leads to a significantly higher cost burden. It either requires a substantial (and steady or growing) client portfolio, or the willingness to accept any project just to keep people busy. That’s not optimal either.
Another challenge, and one that we have experienced ourselves, is that the complexity of the organization often grows with size. Suddenly you find yourself focusing on roles and responsibilities, resource planning, handover between departments etc. The biggest downside here is that the energy levels tend to dip when you need them to go up. It’s definitely management’s job to define the right structures and formalise roles but increasingly we find the most important attribute we’re looking for is an optimistic ”can do” attitude.
Flexibility is key
Maybe there is no clear answer to the question ”big or small”. It depends. Becoming world champions in handling a network is definitely an aspiration while I think you also need to accept that a crucial area of expertise for any agency is the handling of creative processes to ensure the right mix of people for any task. Flexibility is key.
Finally, here at Advance we’ve decided to keep fuelling more knowledge into our existing organization. In this way we build on the crucial understanding of our clients’ businesses and customers that our employees have built up for years. And we accept the fact that we have an ongoing need to adjust our freelance set-up to have the right competences close to hand. There may well be some things we need to understand but which might not necessitate full-time staffing.
In such a shifting, challenging environment we’ve found ourselves in a permanent BETA structure – very demanding for a 35-year-old company! Welcome to the ”can do” era.
- @Mozeja: Audi bekender kulør: Den perfekte bil for kvinder. Audi's automatic driving for parking: http://t.co/7lWpfJq3 via @youtube #Advancecph
- @Aaron78: Our take at #AdvanceCPH on the question of whether agencies should try and act like start-ups: http://t.co/Htk1jHBb
- @monikagarnyte: Nice! #advancecph RT @Aaron78: Woo! The Sun features WheelMate as its app of the week: http://t.co/E71ArdVF