An article in today’s Digiday argues that agencies – in particular digital agencies – are not able to differentiate their offerings in the marketplace because what differentiates them is the people who work there.
That argument is too simplistic, especially for today’s marketplace. I’d argue that an agency’s leadership and the work it produces contribute more to the way in which a company differentiates itself than the people who work there and are more transient than the work that is left behind when they leave. While many of today’s top digital shops don’t have the founder’s name on the door. Or any of the partners who make up the leadership, it’s what they do that the agencies are best known for.
Take R/GA. While Bob Greenberg’s name is legend (and not on the door), the shop’s Titanium Cannes winning work for Nike Fuel is work that has defined what it takes to be a smart digital agency. They created a category and a product and marketed it and sold it. All through the lens of advertising and innovation. That’s what differentiates a brand.