The Creative Agency as Business Consultant

John Baker of JWT discusses the challenges presented to creative agencies by new digital advertising paradigms.

The above video interview is from Internet Week in NYC.

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“It’s less about the channel and more about ideas that solve business problems,” says John Baker, President of Client Services, JWT New York. More than just coming up with great creative, Baker sees his agency in a consultative role, assisting with media selection, how different media will play off each other in the ecosystem, how social will be used and additional, important decisions.

Baker speaks about having success by going beyond messages that a particular product is a better choice than those offered by competing brands to answering consumers’ questions about which is a better company. Citing work with Microsoft and T. Rowe Price in this interview, he describes using brand journalism to communicate thought leadership through timeliness, relevancy, content value and peer participation/influence.

As the industry works towards shorter development cycles and multiplatform “content events,” the process can get guidance from brand metrics — such as those for video that allow measurement down to individual units on individual channels. Development, creation and deployment, though, include new challenges. For example, these initiatives carry the additional cost and time burdens of the involvement of a greater number of people — from inside the brand, inside the agency, other agencies and media and technical partners.

Addressing interactive video in particular, Baker sees a need for deeper collaboration between agencies, as well as greater commitment by agencies to make this engagement technique more widely used. Without an example that leaps to mind among industry insiders, much less consumers, he is open about needing, “A huge idea that shows the world what we can do with branching or interactive video. Whether we or someone else does it, we’ll all be better for it.”