E pluribus unum (“Out of many, one”) – U.S. motto
Where there is unity, there is always victory. – Publilius Syrus
Unity is strength, division is weakness. – Swahili proverb
There is no lack of quotes about unity, collaboration, or togetherness when you search for these terms. While I haven’t read every quote, those I’ve found share a common theme: Unity makes us better.
Many years ago, when the trend of separating media from the creative mothership became in vogue, many of us were left thinking, “Is this a good idea?” There were certainly rational reasons for an agency to pursue this split:
While point 1 certainly benefited the client, point 2 was probably the deciding factor in pursuing such a functional split. And had point 2 not been successful, I doubt the trend would have continued.
Over the years, trade headlines have touted the advantages and disadvantages of this divorce. Yes, we’ve seen media take a more important seat at the table. We’ve marveled at various black-box technologies developed to answer (supposedly) all the keep-us-up-at-night important questions. We’ve seen media agencies make the TV networks and Nielsen “bend the knee.” However, we’ve also seen the headlines about power struggles over strategy, lack of communication between agencies, and the problems these issues cause for clients.
A movement has emerged that may demand unity between disciplines once again. Welcome to the age of data.
Bringing media and creative together enables creatives to respond quickly to data-informed needs. An Advertising Research Foundation study from May 2017 reported that 5 percent to 35 percent of return on investment comes from targeting – but 50 percent to 80 percent of ROI comes from creative. Collaboration between the two disciplines allows us to harness new media platforms in creative ways.
For example, take YouTube Director Mix. This product is built entirely around creative and media working together, connecting audiences through versioning and insight-driven assets. It has resulted in significant increases in campaign performance for brands that have used the tool.
Lesson? Ultimately, collaboration allows us to truly do what is best for the client. Sure, we can email, text, videoconference, FaceTime, or Skype creative partners in other agencies – but being under the same roof allows us to be nimble, collaborate spontaneously, and do what is best for the client without separate agendas.
If you ask Stan Richards what his business goals are, you won’t hear about five- and ten-year plans for growth and profitability. Stan’s philosophy is (and always has been and always will be), “Do great work, and the rest will take care of itself.” At The Richards Group, we’ve always believed that doing great work is the result of collaboration between creative, media, brand planning, digital strategy – the entire team (one of the main reasons our media pros still sit side by side with our creatives).
While other agencies struggle to reunite and reformulate business plans, we’ll just keep on doing great work for our clients. And as Stan says, the rest will take care of itself.