cherrytalk – 5 Minuten mit: Lenny Stern (CEO, SS+K)

Heute kann man sich leicht darin verlieren, neuen Plattformen und Technologien nachzujagen. Agenturen müssen kritisch darüber nachdenken, wie sie dem Publikum einen Mehrwert bieten können. Warum man nicht jeden Trend mitmachen sollte und welches Arbeitsmodell sich bei SS+K bewährt, hat Oliver Klein mit Lenny Stern (CEO SS+K) im cherrytalk diskutiert:

Oliver Klein: „How do you estimate the future of communication agencies within the next 3 years?“
Lenny Stern: „We are always thinking about the role marketing & communications agencies can play for our clients, now, and in the future. But at the same time we know it’s important not to be overly reactive to trends. We have a strong thesis that we think holds the truth as the market evolves: blending strategy and socio-cultural insights to create ideas that inspire action and catalyse change. If anything, we think the importance of strategy and insights is only growing as the landscape becomes more complicated and riskier. We’ve stayed true to these principles, and the industry is now coming around to them as well. But how we deliver on those ideas– help brands find and act on their Noble Purpose– continues to evolve. “

Oliver Klein: „What are the most important trends and developments to which clients and agencies have to respond to?“
Lenny Stern: „From a brand perspective, reputation is harder won and easier lost than ever before. Brands are expected to have clear values, and to carry them forward in their offering and their communications. Everyone who works for the brand has to understand who they are, and what they stand for. Having all of that clearly defined, socialized, and acted upon consistently is more critical than ever.
From a connections planning perspective, while we have more and more options every day at our disposal to potentially communicate with audiences, meaningful engagement is getting more challenging. The advertising landscape is being shaken up by everything from emphasis on data privacy and ad blocking, to increased time consumption on ad free subscription media services. We can easily get lost chasing new platforms and technologies, spreading ourselves thin across every possible touch-point. We need to think critically about where and how to communicate, where we can provide value to our audiences.
There’s also a significant pressure to be generating endless content, at cheaper and cheaper price-points. As agencies we need to be able to develop singular multi-platform campaigns, as well as ongoing content streams. And while we’re producing more and more, we have to be respectful of customer’s time and attention.“

Oliver Klein: „Which impact will this have for agencies and their working model? Do they have to change, adapt, re-think their work processes?“
Lenny Stern: „Certainly agencies have to continually adapt. We need to continually think about our offering and skillsets, and how they align with the needs of the brands and organisations we work with. We embrace more multi-skilled talent, we break down walls between departments, we create more fluid and integrated processes, all with the goal of being able to produce high quality thinking and creative output faster and more cost efficient than before.“

Oliver Klein: „Do you have an example, which clearly demonstrates the future development?“
Lenny Stern: „Even for some of our longstanding brand partners like Wells Fargo and Samsung we continually evolve teams and processes to deliver on different needs. We will configure a senior team that digs in deep and serves as business and experience consultants, or we will configure a team that is production-focused, with iterative creative development baked in to get content to market quickly and efficiently.“

Oliver Klein: „What do you think: with which compensation model should or must agencies get paid with, for their services in the future?
Lenny Stern: „There are a number of options we work out with clients to fit their budgeting needs. Sometimes it’s project based, time and materials, retainer, even performance driven. From our perspective, monthly engagement fees that are pegged to the expected workload would be best, since that would protect us against cost of „running long“ on a project (which is felt most acutely by agencies, and often without penalty by the client).“

Oliver Klein: „As SS&K you have locations around the world. How do you judge the German compared to the international agency branch?“
Lenny Stern: „Our Berlin agency is one of the network’s best. It is creative, strategic, modern and full of integrity.“

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