By day, Head of Social, Mobile and Technology at IKON communications. A true believer in the power of tech, creative and media integration - born from working in technical agencies, creative agencies and media agencies over the past 11 years. By night, an enthusiastic novice of all things photography and photoshop.


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Scientist or artist?

As Mark Twain wrote, most people are in favour of progress, it’s the changes they don’t like.

And in the case of advertising and marketing the progress is being driven by consumers whilst many agencies seem ill prepared to make the changes that need to happen.

Put simply technology is facilitating a rapid change in consumer behaviour whilst the traditional agency models find it difficult to keep up.

Now this certainly isn’t true of all agencies, but many are failing to embrace the new processes, the new skill sets, and the new commercial models that are required to remain relevant.

For years we’ve separated the artists from the scientists, the copywriter and the art director working together to crack the big idea whilst the media planner runs the reach and frequency curves and negotiates air time with the networks.

But the model is broken and has been for some time, realtime feedback loops mean we need to plan for dynamic content production, the era of the three day TVC shoot that blows the budget is fading and a new breed of agency folk are walking the corridors.

There is a new breed of scientists with infinite data, real time actionable insights and automated media buying platforms.

Likewise the new breed of artists also have new tools to work with, tools that allow them to prototype ideas, test concepts and navigate the complexities of a digital world.

Now I’m not saying that we should throw everything we know out the window, quite the opposite I believe that the art director and the copywriter have a lot to teach todays creative technologist about remaining true to the simplicity of a idea. Just like our  TV planners can teach the exchange trader a thing or two about effective reach and frequency and the art of real-life negotiation.

But to be honest that’s not the point, agencies have been grappling with digital integration years and many are actually beginning to get there. The next obstacle for agencies is the increasingly blurred boundaries that are still in existence due to a forced separation of skill sets (The artist and the scientist) that are increasingly interdependent.

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