There’s a great article in the latest issue of B&T Today on how Westpac, one of Australia’s big four banks, is approaching working with its advertising and creative agencies. Here are a few choice excerpts from the article, which is well worth a read in its entirety.
Jee Moon, director of brand and marketing at Westpac [said] that an agency roster based on co-creation, not simply collaboration, is key to establishing and maintaining a strong brand identity.
She added the “one stop shop”, integrated agency model in Australia had “never materialised” and that a rostered agency model based on co-creation in which agencies do not simply coexist but coproduce was key to developing and maintaining a strong brand positioning.
“At Westpac we have moved from a contractual agency model, which we had with the Red House when there was little to bind the agencies together apart from a piece of paper, to a system of collaboration where our partners work together as a community of experts, and are currently striving for a true, co-creation model,” Jee said of her agency partners The Campaign Palace, Yello and Lavender.
“We subscribe to a culture of respect and openness and believe that a great idea is agency agnostic while execution is agency specific. Co-creation does not mean just sitting side by side, but being in it together, sleeves rolled up and building ideas as one.”
However, she added: “This model is not easy, it’s a whole different game to the ordinary standards of agency collaboration and feels unnatural, like you’re stepping on each other’s toes and plodding into areas that are not your own. But when it works the results are remarkable.”
Jacques Burger, CEO of The Campaign Palace, said the challenge with moving from a “contract of collaboration” to a “culture of co-creation” is motivating a change in agency behaviour and added there needs to be a shift in the traditional measures of success.
“In the industry we work in, the person who comes up with the idea is seen as the hero and the person who implements it, second class,” he said.
“We need to flatten this structure out and get agencies to work on the same level, which is achieved by giving agencies access to all briefs and by creating a remuneration model that reflects contribution and collaboration as opposed to mere results.”
Moon added its agency remuneration is dependent on how well they work together, and not who comes up with the idea or creates the campaign.
This is a great example of the core ideas of my book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships on professional services co-creation, and in Chapter 9 of my book Living Networks on professional service networks. I also wrote an article in July 2000 on The Future of Advertising that discusses these issues.
It has been clear for many years that this co-creation model was where the advertising industry is heading, though it is taking a greater maturity from both agencies and corporate marketers to enable this to work. There are a multitude of challenges to making this work, some of which are touched on in the article, however this is where the most value can be created for large sophisticated clients. Certainly many senior advertising executives look with disdain on co-creation models (which imply that they don’t have all the answers themselves), but they will be cutting themselves out of an increasing proportion of where value is created in the industry.