Anyone that works in any form of media / advertising agency will know too well that things have changed pretty drastically in the last couple of years. Most of this is due to the term ‘ Social’, A term that comes up in pretty much every meeting, conference, ppt, blog, e-mail or conversation.
Agencies in PR, Media, Digital, and Advertising used to be fairly rigid in their proposition, but ‘Social’ has completely bulldozed that statement and created what can only be described as warfare. Agencies of all disciplines are equally entitled to the a bit of the ‘social’ pie, but it remains to be seen how/when this revolution might resolve. Lets remember that when we refer to social we are referring to it with a clients business in mind. To that end, rather than have ‘social’ managed by an external agency would it not be better to have social managed by the initiator of ‘conversation’?
We could be here all day discussing the 101 different nuances of social and how it can be unique for each business but I’m convinced that rather than looking out, companies need to look within.
Sounds easy, its not. To do it properly companies need to invest heavily to it right, and that doesn’t sit well on a balance sheet that is trying to deliver profit on the back of a recession. This is why agencies across various disciplines have been there to aid the ‘social’ conversation on behalf of a client. It will be really interesting over the course of the next five years to see how this relationship adapts and whether social does actual originate from the horses mouth. A customer will always prefer to have a direct conversation with the person they bought the object of. But this personal experience of a transaction will become a thing of yesteryear, so rather train an external agency to talk in your language, why not have that conversation yourself ?
Once you look beyond social as a place to solve your product problems / issues /faults / etc. that is the time that an agency from whatever field can absolutely bring something to the table and start to activate your community in engaging ways.
Slideshare doc compiled below is a great example of how the agencies in London are adapting the social evolution. Maybe in a years time we will have the same Slideshare but referencing brands (e.g. Dell, Gatorade)