People always say that media is an ever-changing, ever-evolving industry, an industry where the only constant is change. I tend to agree with them on this; the macro factors that surround media are extremely dynamic by nature, and it is up to us to stay on top of these changes and incorporate them in our daily work and decision-making, says Jean Rimmer.
However, this passive reaction to change – in my opinion at least – is most definitely the wrong way to go about things.
I’m specifically referring to the trend of media strategists and planners relying on so-called digital/online ‘specialists’ and/or third-party companies to plan and implement the non-traditional side of their campaigns. This is often achieved by having one person (or three people at most) in a traditional media agency who overlook the digital aspects of every brand and/or campaign which that agency manages – brands which already have dedicated strategists and planners assigned to them who are totally immersed in their respective brands.
This handful of digital specialists are now expected to be able to deliver online strategies and comprehensive, all-encompassing digital solutions without the luxury of being involved in campaigns from their inception (a critical factor as far as developing a 360° campaign is concerned). The best digital campaigns are those which offer an integrated, seamless fit without which the rest of the campaign could not function. However, most often the best these experts can come up with (given their situation) are merely awareness-driving display advert campaigns.
The same goes for the digital agencies. A partner that only gets involved on a campaign-to-campaign basis will never have enough time to digest where the idea for the campaign originated from nor develop a deep understanding of the brand (where it came from and where it’s headed), it’s positioning and how it would like to connect to its consumers. I’m aware that these partnerships have delivered some award-winning campaigns, testament that they can indeed work, but still believe this is not the most efficient method.
So now you may wonder what is the best way forward? It’s actually quite simple, and I’m most definitely not the first person to identify this or write about it. The best solution is most certainly to have the team who work on the brand on a daily basis to adopt digital into their repertoire of channels they already plan on. There are already five different channels we plan on, why would it be so difficult to add another one?
This not only makes sense from a brand knowledge point of view, but it has many advantages for all parties concerned: Agencies won’t have to spend as much seeing as they won’t need to employ digital specialists or have third party companies taking an unnecessary cut of clients’ budgets. Strategists and planners will need to be educated on the digital media space, but in the long run the effort and investment (if any) will be very much worth it. With this sort of up-skilling, the strategists and planners who work on brands can conceptualise, plan and implement digital campaigns that not only form part of their overall strategies, but are integral to their success.
In this tumultuous industry, the companies and individuals that are best prepared usually come out tops. Therefore by incorporating small changes and streamlining processes, you can place yourself in the best position to grab any opportunities that stem from the crazy nature of this industry we all love.
Follow Jean on Twitter @jeanr1mmer