Article

Ken Valledy
Ken Valledy 18 May 2016

Why Brands / Agencies Need to Take the First Step

As a former Brand Director and now an entrepreneur, I have gained first hand experience from both sides of the ‘gap’ that still exists between brands and their agencies and the start-up world.

Although both sides still need to work much harder to get closer, I personally believe that brands and their agencies should make the important ‘first move’.

Below are 3 key tips to help make this first move and to build a successful relationship with a start-up:

1. Move from ‘Online to Offline’.  Brands and their agency partners need to get away from their desk and go out to physically see the start-up community. Spending a couple of hours with start-ups not only provides a great insight into what new technology is out there, but also exposes brands/agencies to different thinking and new agile ways at looking at marketplaces. This physical meeting also needs to be part of an ongoing process and can’t be performed once or twice a year. To build (and be trusted) by the start-up community takes time and it can’t be achieved overnight or from your desk.

2. Turn off the ‘Perfection’ Filter . Brands and agency partners must realise that it is very unlikely that the first time you meet a start-up, their tech will be perfect for your need – it will take a bit of thinking / tweaking before the technology is right (not necessarily perfect) for your brand’s requirements. Remember, ‘done is better than perfection’ – sometimes you just have to take a chance, take a risk, especially with new technology

3. Start to THINK BIG and ACT SMALL. Brands and agency partners should always ‘THINK BIG’ when looking at new tech, they need to establish how the tech in question, could be scaled to help achieve their wider brand objectives. However, while they are ‘Thinking Big’, brands and agency partners should look to ‘ACT SMALL’ and undertake a ‘feasibility trial’  in a small selected part of their marketplace.  A ‘Think BIG, Act SMALL’ plan is the perfect low risk approach to choosing, testing and scaling the right technology.

It is all about taking ACTION. 

Hopefully, none of the above recommendations come under the ‘Rocket Science’ category? Simple changes in behaviour and mindset can really reap disproportionately positive benefits.

With the increasing publicity behind Tech City, more and more brand and agency teams are now aware of the vibrant start-up community. However, knowledge is worthless if you don’t do anything with it. Brands with their agencies now need to take the plunge and start to build relationships and commercial agreements with start-ups. Competitive advantage doesn’t come from knowing , it comes from DOING, it comes from taking ACTION (and leaving your desk).

Oleg Tymchyshyn
Oleg Tymchyshyn

Online to Offline point reminded me about David Ogilvy's "doing home work", when before creating the ad for Mercedes-Benz he went to interview engineers and spent 3 weeks at the factory. Created ad increased sales 4 times in the US that year. So this approach should really work, agree with the author, and it should work for start-ups as well as for market dinosaurs.

Agustin Maria Rodriguez
Agustin Maria Rodriguez

I agree with your approach! My digital production company develops experiential installations with social amplification and in many MANY occasions, our clients (brands and ad-agencies) usually wait until someone else does something new so they don´t risk their jobs by taking chances (and they come with less budget, of course...)

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