Today I read this piece by Paul Tullo of Tullo Marshall Warren. Paul discusses the need for a new creative model whereby both agencies and clients needs to change they way they work and they way they view projects.
Whilst I agree that social media has expanded the channels available to clients and agencies, I’m not sure it has been such a seismic shift. It is nothing more than a new channel, a new way of getting the message out there. Yes it requires new technical expertise but does it change the creative model? Should agencies rethink how they develop campaign ideas? No. Again, they should rethink the structure of their campaigns but that is as far as the change goes.
His view that campaigns are now a stream of engaging content and ideas rather than ‘one big idea’ also jars with me. To be truly effective any campaign should be consistent in its message, though the creative itself can be tweaked depending on the context it is set/viewed in.
I do agree with Paul on one point. This element of ‘always on’. No longer is marketing bound to when brands want to talk to people. The good/bad thing (depending on the situation) about opening up the social media channels is that your customers will talk back at you – sometimes at inconvinient times, sometimes saying things you don’t want to hear. But they have that power. Clients must understand that and be prepared to meet these challenges head on rather than bury their heads in the sand.
My overall take is that Paul is coming from the view of ‘the media is there so lets use it’, rather than the more appropriate approach of ‘what are we trying to say/to whom and what’s the best means of reaching them?’. Not every campaign needs to use social media, not every client wants to use radio. The role of any agency is to advise the client on the most profitable and efficient way to communicate the message.