My career in marketing started at an ad agency called NW Ayer that created some of the most iconic ad campaigns including “A Diamond is Forever” (DeBeers); “Reach and touch someone” (AT&T) and the ever powerful “Be all you can be” for the Army.
These formative years imprinted on my mind and heart that great advertising is advertising that makes Human Contact – the guiding principle of the agency. This principle meant we were motivated to always do right by our clients. It meant we had to ensure that the media and the message were synergistic – not combative. Mostly though it meant that we were driven to create advertising that touched real people in their everyday lives.
Twenty years on and I had moved to the client side – AT&T, Lucent Tech, CA, Bell Labs among other firms. I got to work with many many agencies and saw many models ranging from “ala carte” to “full service.” But irrespective of the agency, my main criteria for hiring and/or firing an agency all hinged on whether I trusted the agency to do right by us; to utilize the right tech; to create campaigns that connected with real people and to have a clear process that could improve our results with consistency.
Today, agencies have squandered their “trust” credentials because they did not lead the evolution of marketing technology or even evaluate it with authority. Instead, they abandoned their clients and their aching need to have some adults in the room to moderate the enthusiasm of adtech guys who promised them the world. Worse, after it was clear that the tech guys were walking away with the show, these agency holding groups tried to shore up their “creds” by buying tech firms at crazy high valuations with questionable real value to clients.
This is when I turned from agency advocate to one mad woman. I was mad that agencies allowed the industry to be taken over the ad tech guys. I was angry that agencies were underpowered to advise clients well on how they organize their marketing architecture to help them make their ad budgets accountable. But what was simply unacceptable is that agency holding companies burdened their agencies to use their newly acquired technology – irrespective of whether or not the tech served the client well. The core agency value of doing right by clients was shoved aside in pursuit of profits.
The solution for me was clear. Leverage my deep agency experience, brand experience, and tech knowledge to create a wholly new agency holding company with an entirely different DNA – who we serve, what we offer and how we make money.
We call it The Trust Web. This represents a new technological agency/ agent holding company that will thrive by serving both advertisers and consumers with new avenues for making connections that count.
Here is our vision. It is a radical departure of what you may think an agency is or isn’t. Love it or hate it – talk to us – we want to get your take.