Most of the admirable people who were in mid-career when I began working have moved on or are solidly in senior management now, shaking their heads at the pace of change within the industry.
“What’s happening to the value of brands in this hyper-measurable environment?” they want to know. As media becomes increasingly digital and measurable, the quick hit moves the sales needle faster than the longer-term brand-investment work. Many clients don’t want results in Q4. They want them this afternoon.
Agencies increasingly hire younger online-savvy people to stay abreast of the rapid-fire changes. They come into the business speaking the digital language, which makes the old guard feel stupid and, well, old. They question their value to the business in the new climate.
But what is any business but a series of incremental steps from where it began. If there is no value in the seasoned voices, then we have leapt into the void with nothing to ground us. If we have no past, we have no future.
As Frank Palmer, DDB Canada’s renowned agency frontman, recently commented in a Q&A here on this blog: “(The old guard) had the guts to stand for something. If our industry doesn’t stand up and fight for what we believe it, we will become a vinyl record collection of past hits.”
A drop of reason in a sea of cost-per-clicks.