Closing the Great Divide – Or Integrating Your Agency

I am actually going to go down this slippery slope...

I have worked in and with agencies that have severe silo problems. Digital and traditional (online and offline – or whatever description du jour) work separately – but in a parallel universe.  Wasteful.

In my personal experience, I found the digital folks think that those on the traditional side have no way of EVER understanding their world.

Conversely, the traditional folks think the digital know-it-alls are way-over-stating it.

What I have also witnessed in the digital world, is that there are either extremely stringent producers/project managers who control every-person’s every-move; or they’re extremely loose and kind of shoot from the hip to get work done – they just run around asking where’s this or that.

Traditional producers/project managers are in their groove and with the exception of some technology advancements, have pretty much the same parameters in managing work as they’ve had for years. Life is good and what’s the fuss?

Digital and traditional are different. And I get it.

Well, knowing that nothing is insurmountable, and most employees are capable of learning, I believe we can actually integrate digital and traditional.

And that’s good for an agency.

I don’t need to learn to code, and you don’t need to learn how to put ink on paper, or edit video. But we all need to know what it takes to get those things done.

There’s a big bonus when knowledge is shared: Communication with your client is clear and accurate (sure we can do X in Y time for Z budget – it's not a guess, or worse, over-promised), better utilization of resources and assets, and consistency in brand and message. But I shouldn’t have to tell you that.

So we travel to an agency in Sweden called Honesty and they’re going for their version of agency 2.0. The belief is that everyone should understand how to produce digital as well as traditional – even getting rid of their specific titles – wow.

I agree with this – and hope the great divide between disciplines is actually bridged – because I’ve seen too much of holding info close – not letting others in because it’s so complicated.

In an article in AdAge, the agency’s CEO, Walter Naeslund says:

It just doesn't make sense anymore to have separate staff to handle a separate area which is inherently impossible to separate from anything else…To achieve speed we attack organizational overhead and inertia by putting all our efforts into integrating strategy, storytelling, design, advertising, PR and production under one roof, one strategic account director and one creative team...To our clients this will mean better results in shorter time and at better prices. To Honesty it will mean a lot of new learning, more creative control, better output and further improved profitability.”

Control, better output and improved profitability.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?