Embracing the end-to-end brand experience

A view from Yonder Media Founder Ed Cox.

‘It’s time to accelerate the industry’s pace of change. COVID has brought an inflection point, a discontinuous moment to change things, an opportunity to press reset and accelerate growth.’

When IPA President Julian Douglas laid down his presidential challenge to the business, we sat up and listened. His words coincided with our membership into the IPA and resonated strongly. As an agency we are ‘pressing reset’ on traditional thinking to help brands accelerate 10x not 10%.

It’s been well observed before that the media agency sector is going through a period of great change: audiences are fragmenting, media channels are proliferating and clients are taking more control over their media operations. Meanwhile, today’s disruptor brands are putting audiences and customer experience at the heart of their business. From Gymshark to Tony’s Chocolonely, they have grasped the importance of the end-to-end brand experience.

But what does this all mean for agencies? It means clients need a comms partner that thinks about the whole communications / audience experience and not just be the people that make and / or place the ads.

So how do we agencies embrace the end-to-end brand experience?

  • Think audience first, not channel first
  • Work with clients to define the most effective journey to turn audiences into customers of their brand.
  • Rethink the role of every touchpoint, both offline and online, from paid to owned and earned
  • Ensure media is everything you do - from the billboard by the side of the road and the sports team sponsorship, right the way through to the call centre, the packaging and the welcome message.

Those businesses that don’t know how to put the customer at the heart of it all are looking to the big consultancy firms to help with their major ‘transformations’ to becoming customer centric, data-driven, and digital-first – but often in a very expensive, templated way which, if not rooted in media channels, is rooted in tech stacks instead – still some way from putting audiences first.

So the challenge, and the opportunity, for the UK advertising industry is to adapt and evolve, and apply those skills we have developed – from understanding people, to pure creativity and media innovation – to help accelerate those growth brands and agencies.

We have the know-how, we just have to evolve from our traditional thinking, structure, silos and business models, and we must move beyond just paid media.

This is even more important at this time where Covid has put audiences even more in the driving seat, with accelerating expectations on everything from delivery times to user experience to being entertained.

So let’s hear Dougie’s call to arms, let’s press reset on our own industry and show that agencies can transform and scale the brands we work on by 10x and not just 10%. Because if we don’t, we will find ourselves even more squeezed between the twin threats of in-housing and the management consultants.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA's terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA's newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 24 May 2021