The World's Leading Independent Agencies 2010 is a Campaign advertising supplement published for thenetworkone.
Being in marketing right now is a bit like hitting Monza's Formula One Circuit at 350km/h: the road immediately in front of you is already history.
The web has refined information and redefined our world at phenomenal speed. About a quarter of us are now connected and, as the digital divide shrinks, the day when all mankind will be connected and can be communicated with in real time will soon be a reality. Some will argue that this is a blessing, empowering people the world over to express themselves on an equal platform with kings, sheiks, presidents, dictators and major corporations - levelling out the information playing field.
Others may consider this a curse. But, whatever your belief, the undeniable fact is that the way we communicate, and compete to sell (whether products, services or ideologies), has been totally reshaped by the digital revolution.
Empowerment is creating a new power, one that is consumer-led. A savvy consumer, with full information at her fingertips. And with more information than she can possibly process. Brands can no longer dictate to audiences as they did in the 60s and 70s. Digital networks have finally made it possible to evolve beyond one-way broadcasting and establish permanent, ongoing, multi-way conversations with broad numbers of individuals who are actually interested in our products and services.
As agencies, we must constantly adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the curve, and survive. As a creative agency poised at the forefront of global digital convergence, our passion, as always, is our compass. Our briefs differ from one project to the next - ranging from film-driven story to data-driven application; live events to artificial intelligence.
Some of our creations are for paying clients, some for ourselves. But the common threads are innovation, creativity, challenge, genius, playfulness, and last, but most certainly not least, effectiveness.
As we hurtle headfirst into the new decade, we have drawn up our own predictions of how the brand communications landscape will look in 2015.
• The world is digital, and there's no longer such a thing as a digital agency. Technology has grown from a forest to a jungle. The possibilities are endless, literally. Conversely, being able to navigate the jungle and deliver concrete results is harder than ever.
• In this environment, a firm grasp of technology, a history of innovation and, above all, a culture of production and delivery are at a premium. Agencies will have evolved into hybrid marketers/technologists. With our roots firmly in digital production and our ability to develop technology with a marketing and brand perspective, agencies such as ours will be best placed to help brands resonate with audiences in the digital world.
• The generation that grew up with social networks, blogs and microblogs turns thirty. There will be no such thing as a disconnected "older" generation. Everyone will be a part of the social generation.
• Transparency in advertising will finally have reached its zenith. Already now, there is nowhere to hide. If a brand offers a product that's sub-standard, it can no longer shelter behind a full-frontal advertising assault.
• Many brands will see communication as so integral to their products that they will cease to rely on outside consultants for lead communication strategy. They will take this responsibility in-house and use people like us to produce amazing communication experiences to engage audiences.
• Many marketers will substantially disinvest in interruption and reinvest in attraction. They will look to create personalised experiences based on things that really matter to their customers. In delivering value, they will generate loyal audiences that are actively keen to engage with their brands for the long haul.
• Many brands will realise they are their own media channels and respond by filling those channels with a broad array of mixed-media experiences.
Earlier this year, we collaborated with McDonald's Nordic to create a film-led brand entertainment experience that had a resounding success in the region and reverberated internationally. Dreaming in Mono, a 60-minute film-driven experience told over seven episodes, was broadcast on TV networks in the Nordic region and spread on all major social media platforms. The campaign's online hub hosted music, videos, polls, iPhone apps and a contest, along with opportunities to start discussions. All were designed to connect people around the story. Not a film, not an advertising campaign. Brand turned broadcaster and community hub.
• By 2015, many of the things we dreamed about when we first got into this business will be coming true. We're genuinely excited about this stuff and, thankfully, technology is developing fast enough to both appease and fuel our digital creativity.
And, for when it doesn't, we have launched our own agency label for products and services that we create.
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This amazing pace of change presents glorious opportunities for some, and mortal threats to others.
For people and businesses with open minds, skill, a degree of willingness to take risks, and the ability to act fast, this rapidly evolving landscape will be like a candy-store of possibility.
For people and businesses favouring stability, predictability and the comfort of the "known", well, you're in for an interesting few years.
All those belonging to the former group will find Perfect Fools a happy place to be.
Mark Chalmers and Tony Hogqvist are creative partners at Perfect Fools
AT A GLANCE
Patrick Gardner, president; Mark Chalmers, Tony Hogqvist, creative partners; Tony Sajdak, managing director, New York; Fredrik Heghammar, managing director, Stockholm
Stockholm, New York, Amsterdam
What would you like to see more of in 2010?
Divestment in interruption and investment in attraction. More transmedia storytelling, where brands stop trying to dominate media channels and realise they are media channels
Which country's creativity (other than your own) do you most admire?
Brazil. There's warmth and vibrance that's far removed from cool Scandinavian simplicity. But Brazil's work also shows creativity and professionalism
This article was first published on Campaign