Ad agencies are just as paranoid as design groups

Which is more paranoid – the brand and design business, or the advertising industry? After many years working in the latter I used to think that I knew the answer.

Which is more paranoid – the brand and design business, or the advertising industry?

After many years working in the latter I used to think that I knew the answer. Virtually every board meeting would feature a variant on the agenda item ‘How are we going to cope with the threat from brand consultancies?’.

The industry’s magazine Campaign was – and still is – full of chest-beating articles counselling ad agencies to look beyond the narrow world of advertising, if they wanted to eat at the same top table as the Interbrands of this world.

In fact, I was so impressed with the argument, that I decided to jump ship. So should I be worried to read – in your Top 100 Consultancy Survey supplement (DW 29 May) – Charles Trevail of FutureBrand’s view that ‘Our greatest competitive threat will come from the ad agencies.’?

Has the ad industry taken advantage of my absence to shake and shape up its act at last?

Or is it just a case that the grass always appears to be greener (or blacker and more threatening, depending on your sense of unease) on the other side?

I suspect so: while both industries have any number of wise sages who can analyse brands (and the word ‘brand’) until the rainforests can produce no more paper, only one of them has the breadth and depth of creative skills to be able to apply that thinking meaningfully.

I recommend that those people who are worried about the threat from ad agencies should go and work in one for a while – that should ease the paranoia.

Matthew Lonsdale

Director

Gospel Essential Branding

London W1

Latest articles