Here's what I love about the advertising industry. No matter how desperate the situation, it's convinced it's just one new tactic away from everything falling neatly back into place.
Forget that most of us block, filter, fast-forward through or simply ignore 99% of its work. Their response is always, "No you don't," which they replace soon after with, "Doesn't matter. We have a new solution."
Well, salvation is here yet again, and your agency is licking its chops; waiting to help you manage it. "We call them, Influencers," they'll tell you, "and you're going to want two scoops of this shit."
Of course, Influencers have been around for several years. They've just operated in worlds unfamiliar to most agency leaders. But as clients complain their ads garner only slightly more interest than the NIT Basketball Tournament, the advertising and influencer worlds have joined in a universal partnership.
So forget the damning truth that people find more value in listening to the brand experiences of complete strangers, than they do in engaging the brand directly. "No they don't... Well, doesn't matter." The ad industry will simply buy the influencers. I mean, finding creative solutions is hard. It takes insight, planning, effort, money, legitimate talent and the thing that's in shortest supply, time. Buying influencers is the perfect hack. Brilliant!
The problem, of course, is that the industry isn't very subtle so rather than a real solution, think of it as the tsunami rising a hundred miles offshore.
Influencers will be overtaken by the industry's power. They will want to remain pure and committed to their audience but the temptation will be too great, the financial incentives too high. They will crack. They will take the money and their credibility will dilute into the mainstream.
The tragedy in all this is that agencies and will fail to recognize the answers Influencers bring. The reasons they attract, engage and inspire their audiences to action - Remember when we thought advertising could do this? No you don't. Doesn't matter - is that they are actually committed to helping those audiences succeed.
While agencies create commercials with supermodels striking seductive poses, Influencers are showing teenagers how to create the perfect "smokey eye." They show women how to break through the glass ceiling, create versatile outfits by shopping at TJ Max and help men understand the importance of matching their leathers, and eating a salad every once in a while.
Influencers have purpose. They commit themselves and do everything they can to help their audience. Period. It's pure. It's honest and it's believable. They don't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy sets and exotic locations because their audience doesn't care about that.
Influencers know what the ad industry fears more than anything. People don't want advertising. They just want help finding the right products, for them.
It's that simple.
Agencies will never get this so my appeal is directly to the brands themselves. Be honest, authentic and dig deep to understand your values and beliefs. Then commit everything to delivering against them for your customers.
Forget your competition. Hire people who believe in your vision and purpose and leverage their power to outperform yesterday.
Deliver real value with everything you say and do.
Be disciplined and consistent and have the strength to let your success come as a result of your audience's.