Not to say we told you so- but, we’ve been taking heat on this subject lately per the opening of “Brew, a creative collaborative” and the need for agencies to set the tone for the kind of connections they want with their clients via a site.
Hill Holliday in Boston ditched their Flash site for a WordPress blog- and we’ve seen a few other agencies- like Wieden + Kennedy start blogs on the side. We integrated a Blog into this site back in January of 2005- late in the game for us- and saw such good results- we started a seminar on how to “blog for business” first as “Blogosopher” and then after a strategic adjustment for MidWest minds- “Websitetology.”
If we weren’t so busy working on client work- we’d change this whole site into a blog- but it’s that tale of the cobbler’s kids shoes.
Ad Age has finally caught on- that most agency sites don’t have any real content- they produce what we like to call “chest beater sites” that talk about themselves as much as Howard Stern or Paris Hilton talk about themselves. Agencies should know: It’s not about you- it’s never about you- and this is where we try to be different: it’s about what we give our customer. Yes, we try to create the ideas that change the game- the ones that set our clients apart from their competition- making them a category of one. Most agency’s mission statements are interchangeable- as are their websites. In fact- take the brand off the big agencies- and you couldn’t tell the difference.
We’ve included a brief excerpt from the Ad Age article- but, while you can check out Edelman.com- you’ve already found an agency that is different- so check us out too.
Advertising Age - Agencies Short on Real Ideas Should Check Out Edelman.com
Studying agency websites
Take a spin around a few agency websites and you’ll soon see what I mean. They’ve come a long way in a few years in that most are actually professional-looking and have some depth to them…
But taken together the content of the majority of these sites says: “We don’t have a clue how to differentiate ourselves, so we’re going to fall back on some fluffy concepts and jargon.” The number of iterations of “we’re the idea agency” is particularly depressing. Variously they declare their ability to deliver: “ideas,” “big ideas,” “catalytic ideas,” “return on ideas,” “brand ideas,” “leading brand ideas,” “ideas and ideas” and “ideas, ideas, ideas.”
OK, fair enough. So the business is about ideas. Maybe the sites differentiate the shops by actually showing those ideas? No such luck. I found no more than half a dozen examples of ideas worthy of the name. Several sites linked straight from the “idea” slug to ads. Ads aren’t ideas. A couple did try to illustrate the nature of an idea they’d had for a marketer, but that led to embarrassments too — such as the notion that telling consumers of a candy bar to “be great” somehow constituted a big brand idea.
So what to do? Well, one big idea for a website ad agencies could do worse than emulate can be seen at Edelman.com. The independent global PR shop has turned its site into a blog and podcast landing page full of content. All the content is produced by employees and the 17 hosted blogs run the gamut from CEO Richard Edelman’s 6am to Micropersuasion musings from Steve Rubel (who also writes for Ad Age Digital), from the interesting PR Catalyst from Hoh Kim in Korea to a video blog shot with a cellphone.
The site, according to traffic research from Alexa.com, is attracting more than 250,000 visitors a month. That’s more than any of the ad agencies’ sites and is even beating up on some trade publications’ online offerings.
In the art of the sound byte- anyone can be made to look like an idiot- I’ve had it happen to me, which is why we consider PR an integral part of the complete approach to marketing, advertising and especially on the Internet.
Before today- Bruce Bildsten was just a copy god in my book. He was one of the stars that came up with the great ideas for BMW Films (note- idiots at BMW took it down) while at Fallon. Fallon has always been one of my favorite big agencies that still acts like they are small.
Then Bildsten went out on his own- and sent some PR out claiming to be launching the next big thing in the advertising world- but, don’t call it an ad agency. It appeared on Ernie Schenck’s blog- which I enjoy greatly. Unfortunately, while Bruce may believe he’s the bomb, and his new agency, Brew, a Creative Collaborative, will be the shizzel, he forgot to make himself accessible.
You can read more on Ernies Blog on this link.
You can see my comments there- and read the previous post on this site here:
But- you can also Google Bruce and find this article he wrote for Fast Company- where, in his first line- he makes a PR faux pas- claiming to be a ski bum.
Which brings me to the point I want to make: What you say in print- is now forever findable in search. Does Bruce, newly minted “non-agency” owner, really want to be a ski bum now- or admit that he is in business?
And although it’s not entirely applicable, this post about conducting interviews via e-mail, and posting them on your site- with your spin, before someone else allows them to be pureed at will, might start to make more sense.
Needless to say- I wish Bruce all the luck in his new business, however, If I’m a mega-brand looking for you- I’d rather find your site at the top of Google, than something you wrote years ago where you don’t admit to being in business.
Maybe it’s time to give up skiing and start managing your brand. We’d be glad to help.
Bruce Bildsten: A Creative Approach to Communication Clutter
Bruce Bildsten works as a creative director for Fallon. Because of his work on BMW Films, Bildsten was named to Adweek’s All-Star Creative Team.
I kind of joke that I never read business magazines. I don’t like to admit that I’m in business. I like to pretend that I’m still a ski bum.
The Next Wave is in business- for business, as an ad agency. We eat, sleep and breathe advertising. We will make you a lot more money than you pay us. That’s our promise. Our corporate mission statement isn’t about being new, bigger, better, hipper, cooler-
it’s this: Create lust, evoke trust.
We hope by reading about us, our work and our ideas, you get it.
Feel free to inquire about changing the world.
Guy Kawasaki once said “Advertising is the plastic surgery of business,: a procedure to make ugly and old products look good” (“Selling the dream”) and it seems that agency types are still looking for new ways to package their same old mojo:
Ernie Schenck Calls This Advertising?: Bruce Bildsten Opens Brew. The Devil Made Him Do It.
Former Fallon CD, Bruce Bildsten, has opened Brew: A Creative Collaborative. Do not call it an ad agency or I will kill you. Brew is what I see as one of a new and emerging class of creative organizations. Says Bruce: “We are reinventing the creative team for the new communications landscape.” And Bildsten should know about new creative landscapes. While at Fallon, he directly oversaw the creation of BMW Films.“Think of Brew as the nation’s first truly unbundled creative shop—where we assemble best-in-class creative, strategy and media on a custom basis for clients,” said Bildsten.
I’m sure Bildsten is hotter than an Iranian nuclear dump- but his differentiation strategy is one of ignorance of the “new communication landscape”- you see the monster in the closet in marketing is search- the Google brand of search- and if we try to find Mr. Bildsten’s firm- well, we’ll end up looking at beer sites- lots of them.With a name like “Bildsten” he could have been like “Esrati”- a unique name for search marketing- but, I named this firm in 1988- in the days when a “Search engine” was a little old gray haired lady called a librarian and you still went to a phone book to look someone up.
I took some flack on Ernie’s site for suggesting that Mr. Bildsten was sounding like a poser on launch of his new endeavor, however I stand by the idea that the customers (marketers/clients in this case) still need to be able to define your “Creative Collaborative” by the standard vocabulary- “Meta data” of “Advertising Agency” in search- instead of forcing people into fumbling to find you.
I haven’t found the site for “Brew” yet- but I can almost bet that it will built with some search evading technology like Flash or a site full of pretty pictures with proper meta data to identify them.
If you do know the url for “Brew”- please add it in the comments.
Note: it’s been found:brew-creative.com
And if you want to see the Press release, it’s here: http://brew-creative.com/brew_press_release.pdf
Note: Dec 10, 2006, almost three months later, site is still under construction. Internet time doesn’t wait 3 months for content.
Note: Feb 8 2007, still waiting for content.
Note: April 13, 2007 it’s up. All Flash. No RSS. Search? 3 whole pages. Will there be new content from the “new” media gurus? Time will tell.
If you are really interested in new ideas for a new economy, but don’t want the same old tacking on the word “new” to the old wisdom of advertising- you are in the right place- The Next Wave in advertising- since 1988, nothing new about us, other than we were doing this long before Bildsten knew what a browser was.
We’re also available to speak to Ad Clubs around the country on the “new technology” of the “new media” of the “web 2.0 world.”
Sure hope this post has enough keywords in it.