Welcome to VISU.AL 2.0 . An upgrade to our service offerings and how we go to market. A better way.
Times are a changin’ – and rapidly. As a growing independent agency, if we are to stand any chance of survival in an already crowded marketplace being absorbed by consultancies, technology companies and even brands themselves; we need to adapt and scale…..or die.
It will take more than sharp elbows and a hustle mindset to maintain longer-term partnerships with brands. ‘Insight, Know How and Know When’ will always ensure that agencies play their part and are key partners for ongoing brand success. But what do those agencies need to look like?
It has always been the intention to scale the agency to be truly international in presence but it was looking impossible under the old model. We were a ‘reactive creative’ agency, where you’re only as good as the last piece of creative you delivered via a prescribed brief. More worryingly, we saw some really great creative handed over and then targeted towards the wrong audience at the wrong time and communicated across the wrong channels. No-one was winning.
The New Digital Landscape
Consumers are absorbing vast amounts of data across multiple digital channels. On one hand this is great from a brand perspective as it relates to more touch points and theoretically can be measured and managed . The reality is somewhat different. Aspirational brands struggle to separate out the signals from the noise, recognising audience intent, or even worse, don’t understand what the signals look like in the first place.
On the face of it, Generation Z should be the ideal demographic to target as they are native to the transition we’re experiencing from an information to a social age. They’re a lot more self-aware at a surprisingly young age and demand authenticity and meaning in their experiences and interactions……..yet whilst they’re dealing with a new set of challenges left behind by a generation that are struggling to keep up with the pace of change, they are having to navigate an inefficient and unequal global market place more interested in self-presevation, whilst being bombarded with outdated advertising methods and irrelevant content.
Trust has been decimated by fake news, a lack of transparency and accountability and net neutrality has been compromised. There’s only been a light touch in progress around governance and there’s a long way to go to protect consumer data and security. The greater powers ‘that be’ seem to be completely out of touch with the new populace.
From a business perspective, organisations are taking one of two paths in their quest for success (or to create longterm shareholder value ), and can be categorised as the Inside-Outs or Outside-Ins.
The Inside-Out approach is guided by a culture where inner strengths and capabilities will make the organisation prevail. The Outside-In approach is guided by the belief that the customer is King. Customer value creation, customer orientation and customer experiences are the keys to success. Those that don’t have a strong fit between their customer segments’ needs , value propositions and a customer-oriented organisational culture, will find that this will translate into less than effective marketing campaigns.
What Succeeds Today and Why?
What does success take in 2018? Apart from twenty-something reality celebrities like Kylie Jenner becoming (almost) billionaires ‘overnight’, we’re seeing certain companies explode globally, leapfrogging their competitors rapidly with lean headcounts and demonstrating their ability to scale their business and cause some good trouble along the way.
For example, like them or loathe them, Uber has completely turned the traditional ‘taxi’ model upside down and forced the previously monopolistic service to rethink business, as they continue to lose significant market share.
What’s the secret?
It’s not just tech firms promising cure-all marketing software or AI and Analytics. Blah.
Not just Creative Agencies promising magic-wand campaigns. Blah Blah.
And not just Media Agencies promising global exposure at the best global negotiated discounted prices. Blah Blah Blah.
You get my point.
In isolation these offerings won’t work but a hybrid model understanding how they are all interdependent and how to interpret insight with actionable empathy, will go a lot further, a lot quicker. The brands above have all demonstrated that, in their ability to adapt to market change.
From confusion to clarity. A Better Way.
A new era of agency is called for . A solution we call A Better Way.
At a high level, marketing is simple: People buy from brands they like and trust. But to get your brand there, you need to know who your audiences are and what is important to them. Then you need to understand how to scale your growth . The problem is, the key to reaching the customer is to ‘be’ the customer. Success needs planning and you can’t wave a magic wand or chequebook to nail it. And you certainly don’t need to be a global agency to enable brand success.
That’s why we developed A Better Way– part of our DNA.
It’s 3-step methodology that ensures your organisation has:
- A brand that is understood
- Evidence-based data transformed into actionable insight, with digital marketing plans and the right creative mapped to specific goals
- Experimental and targeted initiatives that drive quantifiable positive outcomes across multiple channels.
We aim to remove the guesswork and instead, bang the drum on the importance of the three key mantras for a positive successful outcome, to deliver the right message to the right people on the right platforms at the right time:
- Know Who You Are Targetting
- Communicate Persuasively
- Sell With Integrity
We’re driven by the outcome and we work back from that to help brands scale.
We see ourselves as Digital Brand Wayfinders and just like traditional Wayfinding solutions ( you may find in airports or shopping malls) , the best outcome is a happy customer experience, removing all points of friction along the journey from A (Awareness) to B (Buy).
We work well with brands with purpose that are looking for a better way to punch above their weight, outmanoeuvre their competition and are open to respond quickly to change.
Over time we want our clients to have a clear understanding of the customer journey, how to attribute success and how to adjust to short term impacts on awareness, acquisition, activation, retention , referral and revenue and to develop plans to ensure repeat future performance. Its a matter of knowing all the buttons to tweak along the way to ensure the best possible outcome
We aim to give brands that extended hand – access to knowledge, process, creativity and technology, along with resources and a commercial model that they won’t receive from agencies with dated service offerings. We offer value based around value and mind, and not on time.
And whilst we recognise that we have to partner with the best technology platforms, we’re also developing our own platform to complement our agency model and connect our global network of exceptional creatives and influencers, along with some smarts. We will have an outreach marketing platform that performs and measures across all digital routes to market, at scale and speed
………but more of that in another blog post!
What’s In It For You?
Our role in the agency marketplace will be that of the Digital Brand Navigator: We are here to show our clients a better way to find competitive advantage in the face of change and disruption.
At VISU.AL, we’re changing the way marketing effectiveness works by focusing on enabling quantifiable positive outcomes. We identify your most valuable audiences via a combination of qualitative, quantitative, comparative and competitive metrics searches. Then, we map that customer view to create narratives that are truly meaningful.
We are nimble and agile enough to shut down models if they’re not performing but to pull together resources quickly when things need to happen at scale and with speed.
Above all, we give clarity on that performance, offering insight on the right adjustments and we’re not billing based on time, we’re billing based on mind.
Coming up with those big ideas is the cornerstone of any creative agency and should always remain that way, but being able to deliver with efficiency and effectiveness is the key to ongoing successful partnerships.
We intend to be as radioactive in the best possible way to show brands a better way to scale growth whilst keeping it real. We hope you agree and join us on this journey.
( Video Credit: Imagine Dragons – Radioactive – Interscope Records )