Put Future Thinking to Work at Solving Today’s Business Challenges
20th November 2015

Agency types love talking about the future, but the discussion highlights what they should be doing for clients now

 The past few weeks of my life have been dominated by talk of the future. First, I was invited to speak at a Creative Social event titled: The Future. My topic of science fiction trend spotting was a breezy romp through artificial intelligence, robots and automated cars (on reflection, all technologies of today).

Days later, there was such blanket coverage of Back to Future day that only the most committed future-denier can be left in any doubt as to the current state of hoverboard innovation. I was left thinking that that we are living in the future now.

The debate about the future of advertising agencies always highlights what we should be doing for our clients now. The MAA Agency Futures group recently shared some stark truths about our industry: 58% of clients have in-house agencies; average agency tenure is less than three years (versus seven years, 30 years ago); and while 90% of agencies believe they understand their clients’ businesses, only half of clients concur. Agencies doing the same old thing simply have no future.

Lowe Open’s future is being written right now. We will soon move from west to east London and we’re preparing for the full launch of Mullen Lowe Group, bringing together the specialist skills of DLKW Lowe, Lowe Open and Lowe Profero into a uniquely “hyper-bundled” modern communications company. Most excitingly, Mullen Lowe Group will have media inside.

The (re)integration of media and creative may feel like going “back to the future” but channel fragmentation has made it an urgent priority. Media insights fuel more inspiring and attention-grabbing creative ideas. They help us identify consumer intent, understand context and deliver greater effectiveness.

By pushing agency thinking upstream, we will put creative thinking to work on solving real business challenges, not discreet communications issues. Agency types love talking about the future. But the most exciting time to do what we do is now.

Simon Goodall is chief strategy officer at Lowe Open

This article was first published on theguardian.com

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