| By Nick Bayes Expert View

While disruption is the name of the game the advertising industry has become stale.

The Brand Agency Perth General Manager says it’s the global consulting firms rather than agencies, that are leading disruption in the advertising industry.

Disruption, disruption, disruption. This seems to be the trend in our industry at the moment. Every 10 years or so the press is full of stories about a revolution in our industry that has never been seen before. We all panic and coin some new terms for our services in a bid for reinvention. Then it passes, like a bout of indigestion after a big meal. And with a sigh of relief everything goes back to normal.

But I believe that the current issues facing our industry will change it completely. They won’t just pass, they are here to stay. Or maybe I’m just another one of the naysayers jumping on the bandwagon, you decide.

In 1995, Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, coined the term ‘disruptive innovation’. His definition was: ‘when small startup companies develop new innovative solutions or discovered unserved or underserved markets that allow them to topple their bigger, more established rivals’.

Today’s definition is now a little more general, it’s come to mean any individual or company that does things differently and doesn’t follow the norm.

You would think that our industry would be full of disruptors, doing things differently, ahead of the pack. Creativity leading the business world.  But I don’t think this is always the case, the industry has become a little stale. True, there are brilliant, innovative thinkers and agencies in our world but it’s all very often done within the safe parameters of a formulaic approach to communications. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule and they receive innumerable congratulations on their brilliance and shiny trophies to boot. Enabling them to live off this ‘disruptive approach’ for the rest of their careers.

In my view, the most disruptive thing to happen in our industry in recent history has been other professional services firms entering our world. This has got more people talking than any platinum encrusted trophy from the Côte d'Azur.

It’s ironic that the huge global firms such as PWC, Accenture et al are, in my view, living up to Mr Christensen’s earlier definition better than anyone, but they are definitely not what he called ‘small startup companies’.

So, what should we do? How can we disrupt and change? Firstly, to keep doing what we have always done and expect a different result is just complete and utter madness, just ask Einstein. We need to offer more than advertising and brand strategy, more than content, more than media, more than social, and creative and PR and digital and design and CX and VR, and everything that ourselves and our peers are doing right now.

Above article in Campaign Brief WA September 2017 issue.

Tagged as:

  • Branding
  • Technology



Nick Bayes | General Manager

Nick has over 20 years’ experience managing complex international brands in London, Sydney and Perth. He started his career at a London PR agency, before entering the world of direct marketing and then advertising. This wide-ranging experience gives him an intuitive approach to communications and has made him a champion of the integrated agency model.