NEW TREND: AD agencies invest in start-ups
Interview with Tomas Ramanauskas creative director & partner of NEW! agency from Vilnius.
“We are branding, digital and social media agency. We started back in 2011 and somehow always managed to be among the top agencies in Lithuania. There are about 50 people working in New! and our sister agencies right now. Just today I realized that it`s my 18th year in advertising, but I still feel like I`m a freshman, still so many things to learn.”
Agencies have lost their former coolness, how can you attract talented people?
People still want to work in advertising, but on their own terms, be freelancers or work part- time. We compete against all the start-ups, and they have lots of money. It`s a challenge.
What do clients think of such flexible working schedules?
Of course, clients like the strict schedules and order. But the problem is that more and more clients don`t plan ahead. We are in the dark, do not know what the clients will do in 6 months. Gone are the golden days when your clients had yearly plans. Now, you always have to keep the people ready in case the client needs you.
Agencies want to become business consultants. Is that realistic?
Usually, the CEOs aren`t that interested in advertising, but more in PR, so we were a bit distant from the big decision makers. With consultancy services, you can move more close to the business world and clients. Everybody is buzzing around the idea, but I don`t see actual examples of that.
If you look at the future of your business, where are you heading now?
We are working to keep and find the talents. Salaries have come up, but clients still pay the same fees to us. The agencies of the future will create and market the products by themselves. We`ve tried such approach and failed a couple of times, which is fine.
One new trend is what I would call “marketing investing” – we provide consultancy in exchange for a share in the company. We are already investing in some startups.
The startups are complaining that agencies are too slow, do you agree?
Completely. There are loads of examples of agencies working 45 days with one Twitter post. That`s why we separated social media from the creative agency because they work completely differently. I hope they are good enough for the start-ups.
How do you sell crazy ideas to conservative clients?
I think there are two ways. If you spend time with the client, prepare them, share the great work of the best agencies in the World, etc. It`s a long road and you need to put a lot of effort into it, build a relationship with your client. It`s much easier to sell an idea to a friend, who trusts you.
How to have long-term relationships with your client?
This is actually a sad thing in this industry, that you have very few long-term relationships. It`s considered as a good hygiene to change your agency in every 1 or 2 years. For example, Telia always changed their agencies. Tele2 had a creative relationship over 10 years with one agency. You can see the difference. Telia had some very outstanding campaigns with 20-30 different narratives and styles. Tele2 only had 2 TV series, they were very consistent. You can see how changing agencies affects consistency.
How to create good ideas?
My personal advice for younger colleagues is that you should watch ads, but not get inspired directly from the ads. You should get inspired by art, TV shows, wood carving, car tuning, whatever you do. I always try to find weird things. The more diverse your world is, the better chance for some fresh ideas in advertising.