Communities are the future.

We’re building a connected agency. Forrester’s latest report into the infrastructure of Agency networks and Clients’ requirements in the face of increased consumer rejection of normal advertising techniques shows that there is a sweeping change required in our industry. Is it scary or exciting? I’d plump for the latter.

Consumers are increasingly switching off from advertising. Not only in message consumption, but also in credibility. Forrester says 6% of UK net users don’t believe claims made by advertisers in advertising. But they continue to seek advice from unexpected places. Random blogs. Not so random blogs. Google. One’s Mum. (Who else would you ask about washing powder or vacuum cleaners? Think about it.) Good food for thought, but the intrigue remains around how agency constructs that deliver single media messages, no matter how delightfully (eg Cadbury’s Gorilla) will continue to warrant the investments advertisers make in them. I think we’re trying to challenge the norms at our place. We recognize it’s harder, more labour intensive, and deeper skills are required, to be successful in running digital campaigns. It’s still not enough though, to be good at that.

I could be wrong (and am happy to admit it when I am) but we have to think of new models that recognise consumer behaviours around crowds, collective endorsement and redistributed social media customer representation. Are we always right to keep shoving messages we invent based on brand and value propositions in front of consumers when they are clearly telling us they are interested in buying something and just want a bit of help to decide on the details? Will communities be the dictators of content in the future?

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