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  • 15 Mar ’11


Identity Crisis

There is currently a crisis of identity in the agency community. Brought about primarily by the incredible speed that digital and social have advanced and been adopted. We are all playing catchup and trying to define to our market what it is we are doing to cater to this new need without looking like we are abandoning our core principles and skill sets. With the advent of outsourcing and crowdsourcing, design is becoming a commodity rather than a service, where pricepoint is all that matters to a client. If agencies get caught up in a race to the bottom, competing on price rather than on expertise the outcome is clear, they will loose.

We have talked in DirectBrand many times about the need for our clients to produce “Compelling Content”, in order to compete in the current market. Content which incites an emotional response, which generates conversation, imparts knowledge and adds value to our daily lives. This is what customers are now looking for. It’s not enough to send out continuous one way messaging as we used to do in the old advertising / marketing model.

But as agencies we need to follow our own advice. We simply cannot afford not to. There is a chaos within the industry at the moment which affords all agencies unique opportunities to step outside of the struggle for identity and make their voice heard as expert sources within a chaotic industry. To highlight what it is we do, the incredible value inherent in the work we produce and the tangible results for clients. Agencies who want to lead the way should not want to be merely involved in a conversation about how the industry is changing and how to adapt, they should step to the fore and lead it.

And there are agencies who are taking these steps. Victors and Spoils are one of the agencies at the forefront of this movement. They outline their approach very simply and concisely in this introduction video.

Victors & Spoils from Victors & Spoils on Vimeo.

This is a move which is scaring many within the industry, to be honest it took me a while to get over the implications of what a model like this would mean for designers like me. I’ve always been a bit of a socialist at heart and this model screamed “EXPLOITATION” to me. A select group of Creative Directors and Business owners could effectively pick and choose the designers they want for each job and then discard them when the job was finished. There would be no more job security. Breaking into the industry would be easier but advancing to a more secure position would be harder. I’m still not sure how it would all pan out if this is to become the new model of work within the creative industry.

Over the last few weeks we have been working on our response to the changes in the industry, we are shifting our working model and creative output dramatically and I hope to have an update on some of those thoughts in the next couple of weeks.

Ian Sorensen

Ian Sorensen is a creative director who likes to write about himself in the third person. He has been making things look good for over 12 years and hopes to share his passion for good design / advertising / illustration with all those who visit this site. He also wishes you a good day!

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