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Beyond Disruption: The Evolving Advertising Industry

by Steve Schneider

As a previous post discussed, the advertising industry is in a state of change. Technology, client expectations and consumer demands have all taken a tumble out of normalcy over the past five years, making it necessary for agencies and advertising professionals to proactively adjust their business.

As a part of our Beyond Disruption event, I sat down with four leading creative professionals to discuss the changing landscape of the industry. Each one of our panelists brought unique perspectives to the challenges and necessary solutions to staying current in an ever-changing environment. Below we’ve captured the ‘how-tos’ on issues like maintaining culture, creating strong brands, retaining talent, and building creative-friendly environments. Enjoy some of the top takeaways from an excellent conversation.

On an agency’s most important asset
The three things that make a great agency are people, people, and people. If you get those things right, everything else falls into place. The creativity of our people helps us be agile, thoughtful and productive for our clients.
-Andrew Swinand, North American CEO, Leo Burnett

On quality partnerships
I’ve been in pitches with potential partners where the deciding factor is who my team would rather have a beer with. You’ll achieve great work if you truly connect with the people you’re working with.
-Grant Leech, Vice President of Brand Marketing, U.S. Cellular

On how work space makes a difference
To retain talent you need a culture and ecosystem that work together. Work spaces can drive talent and inspire employees to come to work each day. It’s no longer ‘this is my desk and this is the conference room’—space is now more malleable and communal. Having creative space at every opportunity is important, you need to have the space for the human factor to just relax and be.
-Theresa Williams, Design Director, Nelson Architects

On staying stocked with fresh ideas
The industry has trended towards data over the past several years. The most important thing data teaches is what to change when something isn’t working. While we do use data, we balance that with hearty creativity. O’Keefe, Reinhard and Paul brings in writers and performers from Second City to ideate. While performing improv comedy, their job is to move quickly and know when, and what, to change. If they’re not getting laughs they change either the message or the delivery. They help us do the same thing with campaigns.
-Nick Paul, Founder & Partner, O’Keefe, Reinhard & Paul

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