Read Bud Caddell's latest addition to The Library of Agency-of-the-Future-Prognostications: Who says the future needs an advertising agency? Between the post and the 50-some comments it's one of the most clear, comprehensive, and thoughtful summations of the industry's evolution that I've come across.
After I read it, one word was echoing in my brain: Networks.
The difference between what everyone has been doing, and what everyone needs to do is networks. We no longer create messages and experiences for groups of individuals; rather we create integrated experiences across all media environments that are specifically designed to serve and empower networks of connected people.
Bud describes an emerging creative capability that he sees as a viable future service: Platform Builders. I'd go further. I think that all groups of people who come together to offer creative services to companies in order to help those companies communicate with people about their products or services, need to organize their ideas around a deep understanding of the communities of connected individuals who are drawn together by their shared values, goals, and interests.
We've already seen some successful forays into this kind of work. The perennial favorite: Nike+. And everyone's favorite social media success story: Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign.
But, our appreciation of these types of experiences has been limited by our perception of the digital space. We see ideas like this as digital ideas. We see these as good ideas "for digital."
Guess what? Everything is digital. There is no offline.
All experiences now occur in the context of a self-authored digital network of personal relationships.
There is no longer any interaction that an individual may have with a brand, company, product, or service that disconnected from all the people they know, and the people that share their interest in that experience.
Therefore, every creative organization in this business needs to learn how to create integrated experiences across all forms of media that thrive within networks.
This is a much bigger idea than I can cover in this single post. It's exciting to me, though, and I'll be sure to revisit it over the next few weeks and months.
And in the words of Mr. McGuire, "There's a great future in networks. ... Will you think about?"