Look at any ad agency capabilities brochure and you're bound to see those all–too–familiar words "we are a creative agency." A creative agency? There's something about the phrase that has continued to bug us for some time now. Especially with so much of the change that has hit our industry, it almost feels like it's out of place. I mean, what does it mean to be "a creative agency" anyway? To us, it speaks to an agency's potential of doing something creative at a later date, sounding passive, soft and speculative. As in, "we're a creative agency, but sometimes it's hit or miss so you never know what you'll get." We're guessing most clients tend to see it that way too or at least continue to question its value. So yes, the whole notion seems a little past its prime. Think about this too; most clients today are looking for agencies that are more action oriented about their business and about doing things, not simply being "capable" of action. We suppose this is why the phrase "creative agency" winds up in so many capability presentations.
That's why instead of defining ourselves as a creative agency, we decided to re–define ourselves as the world's first "Creating Agency." Okay. We admit, the change may seem subtle to you, but to us it's a game–changer. Here's why.
First, everyone who is part of a Creating Agency is expected to think creatively. Not just the creative department (truth be told, 20nine doesn't have a creative department for that reason). Everyone is expected to solve problems and add value to a client's business. It's not unusual for a project manager to be handy at creating and scoring videos, or an engineer who's as knowledgeable about breeds of dogs as he is at creating code, or a designer who has an uncanny ability of finding obscure jazz tracks from the 1940s. Agencies have forever claimed that good ideas can come from everyone. At a Creating Agency, we have the luxury of having people who can come up with ideas but who also are accomplished at knowing exactly how to bring them to life in any medium.
Creating Agencies are active, open-minded and alert to new opportunities for our client's business. The term "creating" suggests we are in constant creating mode, questioning, developing new hypotheses to challenges, and playing around with the possibilities. Not because the work order says so. But because it's how our minds work. It's what gets us jazzed. It's this "everyone in the pool" spirit that makes coming to work fun, and working with us so interesting (so we're told).
Lastly, Creating Agencies are not bound by channels. While we regularly create websites, brand identity systems, ad campaigns and online videos, what we're really doing is creating meaning, motivation and momentum around the brands we champion for our clients. Any agency can create a website. But a Creating Agency strives to create something bigger. Better. More enduring.
"The Creating Agency" isn't just a tagline we'll splash on at the end of a new business presentation. It's a way of working that for many of us has been a way of life for as long as we can remember, and the way more agencies, marketing companies and interactive agencies will be working for years to come.
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