For more than two decades now, agencies have ridden a rollercoaster when it comes to their relationships with brand clients—and that’s because the entire advertising industry has been collectively riding a rollercoaster as it relates to technology advances, consumer behavior shifts and policy changes. The end result has been this: The art and science of advertising have been unnaturally pulled apart.
But that’s not the way anyone really wants it. And it’s not the way it should or has to be. That’s why here, at Anagram, we’re actively building ourselves around the nexus of art and science when it comes to advertising effectiveness—and that’s an exciting place to be.
But First, How Did We Get Here?
At Anagram, we’re making a conscious effort to do things differently when it comes to mixing human understanding with evidence-based marketing. And that’s because our leadership team, based on our decades of experience in this industry, has seen just how powerful marketing and advertising can become when people are empowered to blend their creative and analytic minds in service of client problem-solving.
Back in the traditional days of media, agencies were creative powerhouses. They used the channels and audience insights available to them (which, admittedly, were far less than they are today) to guide their recommendations to clients, and then they put the full force of their teams’ creativity behind crafting the most impactful and compelling ads possible.
Along came digital, and brands’ needs and expectations as it related to agencies shifted. Existing agencies stepped forward to guide their clients through the new channels and proliferating opportunities, and a new set of agencies arose around the digital opportunity specifically. The digital opportunity was tremendous and so fast-moving that agencies and brands alike struggled to keep pace, feverishly hiring and training up on new skill sets and developing new tools and models as the needs arose.
In other words, we built the plane while we flew it. And somewhere along the way, the brand-agency relationship started to change. It became more transactional. More executional. More contingent on clicks, spreadsheets, post-campaign reporting and, above all, short-term performance.
The creative and strategic partnership was lost and, along with it, the essence of what made the brand-agency relationship so productive and meaningful.
Let’s Restore the Balance of Art and Science
It’s time to hit the reset button on the brand-agency relationship, and that starts by reuniting art and science within the agency model itself.
At Anagram, we’re approaching this need from a cultural standpoint. We love the data and technology that powers our industry, and we’re proud of the deep capabilities that our people have in this realm. But we also recognize that it’s not enough. We need to train, retrain and empower our people—all of our people—to always be applying data and tech to the real human connections that we’re seeking to establish between our clients and their audiences.
After all, it’s the humanity behind advertising that brought most of us into this industry—the desire to understand people better and leverage the full extent of our creative capacities in crafting messages and ads that resonate on an emotional level. This desire isn’t separate from the data and science that underpin the advertising landscape and smart media decision-making. The art and science are inextricably linked, and agencies need to acknowledge that—not just in the services we provide, but in how we structure and nurture our teams.
From the brand perspective, the importance of this agency art-science integration can’t be understated. It’s a fundamental up-leveling of the type of services and partnership that brands can expect.
When their agencies are able to deliver on this blended skillset, brands need to make the most of it. By bucketing an agency as a performance agency or a branding agency—when, in fact, the agency can deliver both—brands do themselves a disservice. A more complete partnership will always yield more complete results on every level.
At Anagram, we believe the balance of art and science represented within our media practice is our core strength, and we’re excited to share it with clients. Want to learn more? Get in touch with us here.