I was intrigued to hear about the ‘new global integrated marketing and communications agency’ created by the partnership of WPP and Dell. It seems, they’ve just discovered ‘working with’ as opposed to ‘working for’ is a new concept and that they will be the ‘agency of choice’ for ‘the most talented people in the world’. No offence to Dell or WPP but I’m wondering if this is really what the best creative individuals will want to aspire to. In our consultancy we are very proud of our international team but highly aware they need exciting, different, challenging work in diverse sectors, formats and media to keep them motivated and fresh. It is one of the reasons we enjoy working in emerging markets but equally relish the challenge of bringing new ideas and perspectives to developed UK business – each inform the other.
I worry about being seen as a sector specialist – while always a tempting positioning. While clients want the comfort of focused expertise, great designers want new challenges. Designing say banks day after day or supermarkets or offices does not appeal to many creative people I know. Bringing the lateral skills and nuances of different sectors to focus on a specific issue can be stimulating and commercially effective. It is easy to talk about thinking ‘outside the box’ but too often suffer straight-jacket thinking by so-called specialists with a fixed solution template. This is a constant challenge for us and our competitors and that’s why, as an independent company, we believe in the added value and catalyst potential provided by different professionals, companies and specialists working together.
It does seem independent consulting is not what some big clients want judging by the trend for consulting implementation partnerships with commercial operations. Ultimately the market gets what it deserves but consulting networking is the future whether under one big label or synergies of smaller interests. The challenge for both is attracting and keeping new talents with stimulating enjoyable projects and opportunities.