Time to think blended.

Published 06.03.2020

A few days ago I shared a thought for the day. About the fact we should stop thinking about ‘digital’ as something unique to consumers.

BTW – usual dyslexia warning.

It isn’t. Hasn’t been nearly forever now. It’s unique only to those who sell or buy digital services.

Consumers. Us. Me and you. Don’t live digital loves. We just live.

If we are to define the relationship between the online and offline, I think the best term is blended.

We live blended lives, moving seamlessly from the physical space to the digital space or occupying both at the same time.

Blended is something that interests me beyond the consumer. Agencies.

Agencies that pretend to be integrated fully (was full service) are lying. Sorry. But they are. Even the biggest and the best have strengths and weaknesses. Selling services they kind of wish they didn’t have to. And subbing out more than they’ll admit.

Technology has become so deep in it’s expertise that narrow vertical agencies have popped up and prospered. UX is a great example. Like DM used to be. It has a different vocabulary. Still has the same kind of minds as other agencies. But laser sharp focus.

And some clients want to buy that focus. It reassures them. Even if they could have got as equally good advice elsewhere or from their digital, creative, integrates (or other) agency.

Agencies biggest challenge is and has always been being honest. About what clients should do over what serves the needs of the agency.

Well, here’s what clients need. A blended approach. Agencies that can work beautifully together. Blending the services, their teams, ideas and ownership of the work in a way that serves the client best.

What agencies need to do is to own and enable that blending, seamlessly, quickly, non politically and proactively.

Agencies need a new attitude to each other, as much they needs clients to have a new attitude to them.

The rise of the blended agency model. That’s my prediction. Not an agency offering, an agency culture and methodology.

Something that families have been getting right for decades. And agencies are crap at it. And it’s holding them back.

In-housing is happening and described as a threat to agencies. It isn’t. It’s normal. Expected. Right. Big ideas and specialist services will rightly remain in the hands of agencies in the most part. And being able to blend agencies teams and client internal resources and assets will also be a huge differentiator.

New ways of working are upon us. Consumer have changed and always will. Why do agencies resist the same. The model isn’t broken – it was always one of collaboration. There’s just more players.

Those that love to play politics, defend their borders, run other agencies down and reach fast for the blame card, your card is marked. Not by anyone else but yourself. If you could please make way for those that get it, instead of hoodwinking your clients and getting away with it would be very good of you. And bloody brilliant for the people we exist to serve. Clients.

Blended. An idea only. Not more jargon. Just an approach to life, with healthy boundaries, shared visions and a focus on outcomes… for everyone.