by Glen Peak
In a recent blog article, What Kind of Agency Are You, an ad agency owner observed his struggle with how to “categorize” his agency, e.g. digital, creative, branding, etc. Lots of varied services and talent no doubt led him to describe such a struggle.
I was struck by the author’s observation that they never use the word “traditional” to describe the agency and wondered aloud if even “traditional” agencies use the word. Well…we don’t currently put the word “traditional” in the descriptors of our 4A’s advertising agency but this discussion prompts me to think that we should proudly include this word in our messaging. Perhaps someone would actually ask: what does the “traditional” descriptor mean?
I don’t believe that many of today’s clients understand that ad agencies were once considered to be true marketing partners (a term that has since been beat to death and misused). Better agencies were involved in high level marketing strategy, new product development, market research, package design, media planning and buying, collateral material (yes… even that stuff), promotional programs and, oh yes, advertising that worked. In short, the agency was viewed as a business-building partner and expected to bring ideas to the table that could make a difference regardless of the medium. To achieve that, agencies had to have the marketing capability and passion to understand the client’s business as well as examine trends.
If “traditional” is about being generally recognized, customary and even long-standing, I really want to incorporate this label into the characterization of our agency.