Things are getting busy. Very busy. So much so that I simply haven't had much time to write on this blog. After the economic collapse in the back end of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, the phones started to ring again in early spring. First there were one or two inquiries a week. Now it's a new call a day. I have been in touch with a select group of other modern agencies, and it's much the same with them. We are getting a lot of calls, most of them from large clients that previously worked exclusively with the very big legacy holding company agencies or networks. But they are searching for something new and they are a great deal more informed and curious about new ways of doin things than clients in the past.
This is a phenomenal sign for places like the FrogPond.
We've noticed that clients are looking for smarter, better, more effective and more efficient partners. Partners that are part of the solution, not the problem.
If current contact growth rates hold up, we could be witnessing the first significant shift in business away from the traditional agencies who have controlled and dominated the ad industry for decades, towards new, more innovative firms with the competence and pedigree to strategically steward a brand and scale it with creative excellence in all media. Far-fetched? Perhaps. But if you understand the pressures clients are under to achieve both effectiveness and speed, then you can see why they are searching for new options, and how challenger agencies are able to leapfrog the systems that have been around for 40-50-60 years.
After living through the recent psychological impact of the failure of some of the biggest firms in the world, businesspeople simply no longer believe that their accounts are best parked at the traditional corporate agency. Nor do they believe the myth that just because it's a huge building with thousands of people in cubicles, that putting your account there is a safe choice. On the contrary, clients are starting to feel that putting their accounts in a traditional agency is perhaps the riskiest move to make. When we started StrawberryFrog ten years ago, it was virtually unheard of for huge major clients to award multi-million dollar accounts to new challenger firms. This is no longer the case. We have proven over ten years that you can do what huge clients need and want, but do it differently than the dinosaurs. Many of the calls we've received the past month have been from America's blue chip companies wishing to meet us and understand how we can service their businesses and brands differently from the legacy agencies.
For agencies like ours this is a welcome sign. "Yeah, yeah yeah", you say. "We'll believe it when we see it." Sure thing. But even in the face of that semi-corny line, these calls do signal the importance of brilliant ideas, the resurgence of strategic and creative excellence, and not the focus on money or the crushing weight of bureaucracies. Today, intelligence, experience, innovative and being agile as hell counts. It's good to be a firm in the outside lane at a time when that's the best place to be - without, I dare say losing any creative quality.
The pressures of the economy mixed with the media revolution underway are pushing clients to take hard looks at their traditional agencies, and this is blowing the cobwebs out of the advertising attic, and creating new opportunities for modern agencies that have proven track records of re-energizing huge brands or launching new brands from scratch and scaling them into successful businesses.
Viva la revoluion!