What is the role of strategy in advertising and media today? How is it changing? What are the challenges that lie ahead?
Based on a survey of over 90 senior strategists from around the world, the World Advertising Research Centre’s Future of Strategy report makes for some interesting reading.
In a nutshell, it makes three key observations.
The influence of strategy is growing
The importance of strategy is growing and is driven primarily by two factors. Firstly, the growing complexity of the marketing landscape due to a proliferation of media channels and touchpoints and accelerating technological and cultural change has become a significant challenge for marketers. Secondly, in that context, clients are leaning on their agency teams for advice more than ever.
Yet strategy itself is fragmenting
In today’s more complex environment, we are seeing the emergence of myriad specialisms such as digital strategy, social strategy, connection strategy, shopper strategy, the list goes on. In response to this fragmentation, some agencies believe the ‘traditional’ planner still has value and relevance, but must evolve, while others are looking at ways to better integrate their different strategic specialties.
Strategy can add most value by solving big business problems
The report’s biggest finding is that strategy’s greatest opportunity is in solving clients’ big business problems ‘upstream’. Since businesses are looking to agencies more for strategic guidance, there is an opportunity for strategists to help brands navigate complexity, interpreting data and developing effective business solutions beyond the traditional remit of the creative or media agency. Yet social media, real-time data analytics and a proliferation of short-term brand campaigns are pulling strategists ‘downstream’ to solve day-to-day problems.
These findings highlight a key tension faced by media and advertising agencies: as fragmentation becomes a challenge, we will continue to need people who will provide an over-arching strategic perspective
Some things never change
But while contending with this more complex environment is a major priority, influential agency planner, Paul Feldwick, wrote last year that three things about strategy never change.
Strategy, he says, is still about a rigorous focus on delivering business effectiveness; a real human interest in the consumer and a genuine scientific curiosity about how advertising and brands work.
The WARC report can be downloaded at: http://content.warc.com/read-the-warc-future-of-strategy-2017-report
|Get in touch with us in the Strategy Unit if you think we can help or would like to know more.|