How Social Media Is Switching The Power From Agencies To Brands

How Social Media Is Switching The Power From Agencies To Brands

Adland is starting to lose its grip on campaign ideas in the days of digital disruption, argues Richenda Vermeulen, founder of creative agency ntegrity.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

With all the data brands now have at their fingertips, such as social media listening, Vermeulen says the creative process is drifting away from agencies and back to the clients themselves.

She says: “It speaks to the digital disruption of the marketing industry. Traditionally people are pitching in campaign ideas and that campaign is executed across multiple different platforms and mediums.

“But, as organisations are building more and more digital channels, they’re seeing a lot of the insights that we would previously get from research findings.” If brands are actually monitoring social media and engaging with their audience, chances are they’ll discover what people are saying about them. And off the back of this, brands can come up with ideas.

Say, for example, there’s a pain point consumers have identified about a brand and have taken to Twitter to air their grievances. The brand is able to monitor this, see the issue and come up with a campaign to combat it.

It’s a form of crowdsourcing that Vermeulen sees as becoming increasingly popular. But does this mean agencies are no longer having the input on campaigns they once did?

Gavin McMillan, head of brand strategy from comms agency Ogilvy, argues it’s no more than the industry has seen in the past. Rather, he has seen crowdsourcing ideas influencing the direction of campaigns, such as the well-documented love affair between Rhonda and Ketut for insurance brand AAMI.

“We let them [the audience] have a stake in how the love affair of Rhonda and Ketut progressed,” McMillan explains. “It was kind of a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ campaign.” Instead of hurting the agency though, the crowdsourcing helped Ogilvy nab a heap of engagement with the brand’s consumers.

Similarly Francois Petavy, CEO of crowdsourcing company eYeka, believes agencies shouldn’t be threatened by crowdsourcing.

“It’s important that agencies view crowdsourcing as an opportunity and not a threat, because while it may feel like the practice encroaches on their patch, I believe that the services provided are entirely complementary,” he says.

The way the landscape is shifting means brands need a heap more content than they did in the past. And crowdsourcing is a way for brands to keep up with the content demand.

Group marketing manager at Coca-Cola APAC, Leo Roberts, told B&T: “As the world of marketing communication continues to fragment and technology and platforms continue to evolve, the reality is that brands will require more and more content in order to connect their ideas with consumers.

“As a result, different models and approaches on how to source effective content are always under review. The impact on creative agencies is that the very best will thrive and survive by continuing to adapt and evolve their offering to an ever-changing world.”