I'm a traditionally trained journalist. That is to say, I understand what it is to constantly be asked, "Are you obsolete?"
On my most time-pressed days, the answer is usually, "Yes. Yes, I am." Followed by a quiet sigh. But if you catch me on one of my more patient and time-permitting days, that answer might be followed by a lengthy "but..."
Journalists, like the publishers that employ them, find themselves in an "adapt or die" situation these days. What we once were -- even just five years ago -- is not what we are today. (At least, not if we're being honest with ourselves.) Our value has changed. It's still there -- but you have to know where to look and how to channel it. Our traditional role in society is, in fact, obsolete.
Journalists are not the only ones. The ad agency world faces many of the same threats -- both perceived and real -- in the evolving media landscape. Agency value is being challenged, tested, and debated. It's still there. But do you know where to look and how to channel it?
In an effort to better understand today's agency value -- and perhaps justify my own -- I reached out to industry leaders at agencies, brands, and other entities to get their perspectives on the greatest threats to today's agencies and how they can be combatted (if they can at all). Opinions varied, but no one denied the need for a transformation in the traditional agency model and mindset. Let's take a look at a few of the themes that emerged.