The Creative Agency’s raison d’être has always been to translate deep human, cultural and market insights into a value proposition and campaign concept, often comprised of – at the most basic level – a key visual and tag line. A successful campaign uniquely and relevantly fuses the essence of the brand with the product benefits and expresses them in a resonant and compelling manner. Any communication and activation should ladder up from this work.
The Digital Agency has historically been requested to subsequently produce the associated digital properties and assets including the website, banners, emails, the app, repurposing content authored and closely directed by the Creative Agency.
But roles and responsibilities are all in flux. Taking the pharmaceutical industry as our industry lens, examples include:
Thus, at a point before the intense digitalization of society there was a logic to a mostly sequential flow where the Creative Agency did its thing and then handed over their work. Then, the Digital Agency started producing for digital. But now, it should be a back-and-forth, cyclical flow where different competencies need to work together interchangeably and flexibly across the project and work streams.
In fact, the tags “Creative Agency” and “Digital Agency” have lost their meaning as mutually exclusive terms. Rather this categorization sometimes comes in the way of clearly understanding the key competencies necessary to solve the required tasks to efficiently create a multi channel launch of a product into the market. You may choose a portfolio of agencies to ascertain coverage across all relevant competencies, however competencies do not have a natural separation that align with Creative vs Digital.
As a case in point, Vertic is typically bucketed as a Digital Agency. And we most often bucket ourselves as a Digital Agency. Why? Because that is what our potential clients are looking for. They are used to buying from a Digital Agency and a Creative Agency respectively. Also, procurement will tend to use this categorization when qualifying agencies to service a given pharmaceutical company. And as a smaller player in a market, we necessarily supply according to the expressed demand.
Working with this categorization also allows for parallel tracks with several agencies enjoying the associated risk mitigation. It also allows the company to quell the potential dissatisfaction of the Creative Agency of a potential competitor entering the company.
A Digital Agency should optimally be "creative" and a Creative Agency "digital". At Vertic, we employ creative directors with Cannes awards under their belts who serve on prestigious creative awards juries throughout the globe. Thus, in Vertic’s experience, a focus on digital channels has not been a hindrance to Vertic’s ability to devise highly creative campaigns from scratch – or more often, from our own research efforts. So we create taglines, devise visual directions, run photoshoots and complex video productions. In short, what makes Vertic ”digital” is our channel focus, not any lack of ability to carry out significant creative heavy lifting. Even with this focus however, our starting point and that of the traditional Creative Agency is often the same: a value proposition, a concept, a tag line, a key visual. Thus, even as a Digital Agency we are fully equipped to being the originator and steward of these assets for expression via digital channels or via print, by a traditional agency.
Below is a high level description of the tasks divided according to a classic separation between the Creative Agency and the Digital Agency. At Vertic, we most often do the tasks in "red" and "black", and with select clients, the tasks in the Creative Agency bucket.
But it is all in flux, and stereotyping agencies via a historical taxonomy is potentially compromising your multi channel product launch campaign.
At Vertic, we believe that the relationship between agency and company should be mutually rewarding, based on deep insight of each other needs - that is with zero degree of separation - and optimally, life long. Agency and company skills and needs are required to change on an ongoing basis- beyond tags and categorizations - thereby ensuring longevity and constant value exchange. It is what we call Share of Life®.
Founder of the Digital Agency?, Vertic
Are the tasks of the Creative Agency and Digital Agency mutually exclusive? And does such agency categorization make sense?