“Oh, so you’re in advertising? That must be kinda scary… with the web killing newspapers…and radio…and television…and all this social media stuff… Must be hard to keep up…How do agencies even stay in business?”
I hear a variation on this theme at almost every cocktail party, and the logic always amuses me. Yes, things move fast in our business. And they’ve moved exponentially faster each day since the first web banner ad was posted back in 1994. Does that mean technological innovation will somehow surpass our ability to harness it to the benefit of our clients and their brands? Heck no. In fact, every innovation – from a small tweak on an existing technology to a major breakthrough – is a huge opportunity for an agency like ours to break new ground on behalf of clients. As an industry, we’re far from wanting to slow things down. In fact we’re happy to see them speed up.
The truth is we’re still doing what we’ve been doing since the first advertising agencies opened their doors – we’re creating relationships between our clients’ brands and the people they’re intended for. Sure, the nature and pace of that relationship has evolved dramatically since the days when soap operas were literally sponsored by soap companies. But that evolution has benefited both the brand and the consumer. For the brand, the new modes of communication allow them to present themselves in a much richer, more dimensional way to an audience who has, in many cases, requested the relationship. And for consumers, new tools such as Twitter and Facebook have empowered them with the ability to actually talk back and shape brands, let them know what they like or don’t like, take them to task or praise them to the masses.
It would be completely counterproductive for people in our profession to be intimidated by new developments in media and technology. Imagine a physicist toiling away in a lab on a new rocket propulsion system. Now imagine him refusing to read, understand and apply the latest work being done by other scientists in the field. He’d be missing out on a big leg up, right? The same is true of innovations that impact our business. If we work to understand and employ the latest technologies for our clients, it can only make our work more effective and valued. It’s not rocket science. But sometimes it feels like it.