Author and publicist Tim Williams, who was in town last week to speak to members of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Puerto Rico, suggested that the industry must adopt a new mindset to become better allies to their clients in response to tightening budgers and changing landscapes.
Williams was emphatic in pointing out the importance of how advertising agencies must now operate under new provisions in which the interaction with clients can no longer be unilateral, but rather one to generate content that should be “multichannel and multilevel.”
“What we communicate is not only what we capture in an ad, but the messages that our consumers want to receive and consider,” said the author of multiple books, who is also considered by LinkedIn as one of the 250 most influential people in the network.
“The challenge is how to make our work relevant, to provide value to our clients and alternatives in tasks that they can not do themselves,” he said, noting that the global economic challenges facing businesses have forced them to be more efficient in the use of their resources.
The talk, entitled “Becoming a more valuable partner to your clients” was framed in 10 ideas about how agencies can transform their model to a more dynamic one, tailored to what customers are looking for and in which the meaning of creativity is redefined, stories are told and the value of the content that is generated as part of the creative process is elevated.
That change, according to Williams, must come from the base.
“There is much you can do. Maybe you think ‘I’m not the owner of the agency,’ but this refocusing must come from you, who are the greatest influence on what the customer needs every day,” he said.
Agencies don’t sell services, they sell products
Part of the new dynamics he detailed with examples of agencies and firms from around the world that include what is now considered the creative work — ideas — intellectual property agency work, as happens with movies, music and other related industries.
“I believe agencies do not sell services, they sell products. The same thing happens with movies, which are owned by those who develop them. The solutions to complex marketing problems that we sell are the value we must deliver to our customers through our work,” Williams said.
Meanwhile, Lizzette Quiñones, president of the local trade group, said one of the roles it must assume is to identify opportunities to deliver the best educational resources that help to improve the local industry.
“Especially during these times, when the forced issue is how Puerto Rico must reinvent itself to grow and overcome the economic challenges we face,” she said. “Our industry is part of the engine that drives the economy, by generating creative ideas that make the brands we represent continue to grow and contribute to the island’s development of the country.”
“Today, the call is to transform fear into positive action. There is much that each of us can do to help strengthen the commitment that we as an industry have with Puerto Rico,” Quiñones said. “When we sit down with our clients, we must think about what we’re going to do to motivate a change.”