8 Practical Steps you need to take to make your Advertising Agency Digital Ready:

Dear Agency CEO:

It is my pleasure to present 8 things you need to do now!

  1. Bring media planning back to the central focus of the agency. Uptil the time that media buying was agglomerated into specialist media buying agencies, Media was the way that Advertising Agencies made their money; digital media buying allows Agencies to come back into the game. Avail this opportunity and train your media buyers and planners in digital planning and buying.
  2. Change the focus of your copywriting team to content writing. This has two implications, telling brand stories is not just about sexy headlines and neat copy; it’s about blogging, about writing websites, and creating interesting social media content. Also, there is the issue of time: The digital world cannot wait for your copywriter to have his epiphany. Hire people who can think fast. In short: Hire journalists.
  3. Completely new skills are needed in your studio: Your studio needs to know how to optimize images for internet usage. They need to know how to design websites, use CSS and flash and also know sizes of mobile applications, and simple animations for banners. They need to know what fonts work on internet, and what don’t. An inhouse training program conducted by a professional web designer, should be good enough to get you started.  In case the older lot of art directors are not willing to change, the new generation that you hire must be internet enabled.
  4. IT focus: Your IT department has been sitting around running the network, and updating and maintaining your PCs. Its time to upgrade and reposition them also. They need to be the focal point of your technology efforts. When you go and make a pitch to take on an application development or website portal project, you must have inhouse resources to carry these out. Upgrade your IT department to implement CSS, CMS and HTML 5 websites. One solid resource is a good start
  5. Think BTL. Think about ways to connect brands to events, memes and current affairs. This requires the thinking skills of an event planner: eg. Whats our eid plan? And what is our brand saying to the Pakistan team on losing to India in the T20 worldcup. So, sometimes its OK to set aside brand thinking, and connect to consumers through engagement. This thinking needs to be done by the planning / strategy team. Train your strategy team in non-strategic ideation, or hire BTL planners.
  6. As CEO of a Digital enabled agency, you just cant say I don’t have a facebook account. Get with the program. Get a facebook account, and a twitter handle. Insist that everyone in the company be online. Get bandwidth allocated so people can access facebook and twitter, and online websites
  7. Does your agency have a website? When was the last time it was updated? Put this into the Critical Things to Do List.
  8. Now on to the real payoff. Will your company be able to deliver interactive content based on world class ideas of user experience design and game dynamics? There are agencies who are able to do that (akqa is my favourite). My suggestion is to keep this as the goal and build to it.



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