Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Importance of an “Agency of Record"

If getting the most of your agencies means harnessing the power of collaboration to bring about an environment where the big idea can come from anyone, it would seem that a brand has two clear choices. On the one hand, it can use one agency (perhaps calling it an agency of record) to lead all other agencies. On the other hand, the brand can choose to forgo the agency of record and instead manage its agency teams directly.

While either approach may lead to a collaborative environment (since the dawn of digital, agencies have come a long way toward working together) brands that opt to go without an agency of record run the risk of forfeiting the strength of a knowledgeable partner capable of thinking about the client's strategic interests.

The concept of an agency of record remains vitally important for major advertisers and marketers, agencies of record provide continuity, stability, and efficiencies that one-off, ad hoc, or project partners simply can't meet.

The notion of an agency of record that drives the strategy and the brand is more vital now than ever. But traditional agency revenue models where money is made on production and media commission is waning. And that means that someone ultimately must take responsibility for the brand's strategic vision.

A brand also needs people on the inside who understand what marketing is and how it works, and who live, eat, and sleep your brand. These are the nuts-and-bolts people who will move your business forward. They're the CMOs of tomorrow, but today they're trying to prove themselves and (hopefully) trying to learn as much as they can about marketing.