Integrated Myths

Integrated Agency. Two words that strike fear into agencies and clients alike.

For offline agencies in the cheeky noughties it seemed like the only way to go. Bolt on some new media bods and accommodate the client looking to get their company on MySpace or to see if they could get their listing on Yahoo! Directory to make sure people could find their new fankled website.

Typically the agency would find a guy who generally lived in an attic and was good with the computers and bish, bash, bosh, the offline agency had a slab of new media. The integrated agency was born.

Except they were generally pretty crap. Clients, who were originally delighted with going to one agency to provide all services, soon found out that Herbert there in the corner wasn’t quite as integrated as the account managers lead the client to believe. While Herbert was a pretty nice guy for someone who only ate fish heads, he was only really doing digital delivery and the agency, culturally, wasn’t really in the space to understand how they could bring digital into their offline channels. They were always protecting the offline channels they did know and digital became secondary considerations.

This then gave those who did understand digital the space to break away and create digital specialist agencies. They knew their stuff, could tell you the difference between HTML and XML, could show WAP and RSS. Clients, well they loved it, they knew where they could go and get some Web 2.0 and all that social media.

So multi-discipline, agency for offline and agency for online, was born.

But. But.

The feel of these new sites, the essence of the values a brand should embody, was passed over. This wasn’t the fault of the digital agency really. The agency usually got chucked a CD of assets with logos and colours and fonts. So, sure, the website followed the visual execution of the brand but missed the heart of it. Hey, we’ve got a really nice email sign up button but it feels so generic. If only we could get the brand and digital to feel more like each other rather than just look like each other, the clients cried.

This, by the way, isn’t me putting on my rose tinted specs on the evolution of digital services. It’s a hunch that we’ve collectively had here at Good and subsequently been backed up by clients as we’ve talked to them.

Good has strived hard over the past 6 years not to be an integrated agency. We’re a brand agency that understands that the best way to deliver a strategy is to control the key communication elements in one place. That’s why if you’re visiting our offices you’re likely to see a packaging expert having deep discussions with the digital designer on if we can bring those intricate, crafted details online. And if not, what do we need to do to make it work.

That’s not to say that digital is more important than packaging or vica versa. We just know that the brand experience needs to live everywhere and that there is no second class experience.

This hybrid approach to brand experience is the next evolution for agencies. Every element needs a deep consideration and close collaboration to have the best chance of delivering an effective, successful brand.

After six years at Good we’ve learnt that brand strategies have the best chance of being effective if the creators of the brand and the delivery of the experience can talk to each other, share ideas and challenges and push what’s possible together. We understand that at the source, we’ve knocked down the walls put up by integration, by specialists and come together to produce the best brands, the best experience. Everywhere.