Josh Gallagher
Feb 2, 2015

Who will lead the way to agency collaboration?

Media agencies are in pole position to lead efforts toward increased collaboration, writes Josh Gallagher of Havas Media.

Josh Gallagher
Josh Gallagher

A lot has been said recently about the future of agencies. What started as a push from creative agencies to bring in media services has recently shifted to full-scale murmurs of clients taking sole responsibility of data and recently McDonalds have thrown pitches direct to media agencies and publishers alike.

This constant roundabout of “where next?” has been driven by the emergence of endless media vehicles where disruptive messages can be avoided.  In an attempt to solve this, a symbiotic relationship of data and content has been created, but no one agency has the full capabilities.

In recent a conversation, a friend broached the subject of “who do I want to work for?”, and we started to discuss this exact point. 

While we decided that the barriers of all agencies needed to get pulled down for a more collaborative culture, someone must take the lead. Media agencies came out on top.

Let's explore the current context: with the merging of platforms and publishers we now find ourselves overwhelmed with a massive abundance of content. We have gone over the innovation hump of creating content, where both publisher and user-generated content has reached mainstream. 

Our consumption of content is no longer static.  While we certainly don’t want to participate with everything, our self-awareness makes what we consume and what we share a more collaborative and organic process.

Whatever way you look at it, with the balance not overwhelmingly in favour of professional content producers, media agencies are very well placed to lead the way with the ability to connect creative with technology & data. This is not to suggest that media agencies are the only solution but are in pole position to be collaborative connectors.

1. Creative teams will always exist but the types of content we need are also expanding. Despite attempts from powerhouse agencies like Leo Burnett forming production relationships with the Huffington Post, the two biggest producers of content, publishers and users, are already engaged in long-term relationships with media agencies.

2. We have entered a period that is all about content relevancy and the role that technology plays in reaching consumers at scale. MindShare’s Life+ division shows a real commitment to not only the messaging capabilities of devices but also the production of owned technology.

3. The main challenge now is to help relevant content cut through the clutter and rise to the top in a meaningful and diverse way. This will be driven by data. For example, my agency recently launched Meta DSP, a cross-platform programmatic solution, allows a much more tailored solution to content distribution. Media agencies have ready-made tools and people who think deeply about how to get a message in front of people. 

This all requires one key step from media agencies; we need to lead the way from a mindset of renting  (or even communicating to) a static audience, to building organic audiences.

Josh Gallagher is regional strategy director at Havas Media Asia Pacific


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