The question is who is in a better position to service the largest shift in how brands communicate? Traditional Advertising or the Entertainment and Media industries.

The convergence of the internet and traditional TV, social networking, blogs, vlogs, widgets & Googles have changed everything.  With the ability for anyone to publish, consumers no longer have the patience for traditional ‘push’ advertising messaging.  They have been given the controls, and are unlikely to give them back. The brands that connect in the future will be those that can do more than just get involved in the conversation with their audience, but those that produce something of value for them.  Whether that be in the form of information, education, software, games, social networking or via entertainment properties.

This has naturally started a race between the traditional advertising agencies and the media/entertainment industry to see who will best be able to service this shift.

The agencies own the brand relationships and know best how to engage the brands in order to deliver marketing solutions against product & brand strategies.  The agencies also know how to execute across multiple mediums, but media fragmentation has slowed them down and they can no longer execute efficiently.  What they cannot understand or execute, they buy, but fail to assimilate – which eventually cripples the integrated offerings they have struggled so hard to create. They are also losing the trust of their clients as they struggle to keep up with digital media along with creating a convincing & authentic narrative which ultimately delivers authentic audience engagement.

Media and Entertainment have the opposite problem. They know how to deliver engagement across media platforms but lack the experience of creating strategic, bespoke solutions for brands across multiple markets. They know they need to move away from being realtors of space and time, but they are hampered by their sales departments who are holding onto age old relationships with…..gasp…..the agencies!

As I look for my next opportunity, I also struggle for clarity on who will be the winner. Perhaps that is the wrong way to look at it. Perhaps there will be no winner, or loser. Perhaps the two sides need to realize what the other’s strengths are and partner to service this revolutionary transformation. If so, what will this mean? Should agencies rid themselves of creative departments and focus on strategy, media and local market implementation, while entertainment focuses on content, a dialogue, transparency, personal expression, experience, reinvention, connection via audience participation and integration?

Whatever the solution it is certain to shake our industries to their core.

At every industry event I attend, questions along these lines addressed to the panelists in the spotlight spawn answers fraught with the political undertones of a presidential race that are about as clear as fog. A clear sign that change is afoot, leadership is scarce, and the shake-up is just getting started.

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