Let’s recap.

Consumers live the paradox of choice: they now have many more possibilities than in the past, but they are unable to elaborate and manage so many options.

Brands keep on increasing the available options to stand out of the crowd and attract the consumer’s attention, but this very same strategy prevents them from building a cumulative advantage over time.

In this context, there is a third Actor, the Agency. What is its role?

A common myth is that Agencies are expert about something. According to this vision, Agencies help Brands thanks to their expertise. Let’s name a few:

  • the creative Agency
  • the performance Expert
  • the digital Expert
  • the social Agency

and today, more than ever,

  • the omni-channel Expert

This interpretation, however, is generating a lot of confusion and it does not help in simplifying the Brand-Consumer relationship

The role of  “Expert” has been highly important in the era of multi-channel communication, when the advent of digital comms has made the traditional system significantly more complex due to the need to manage a high number of new variables. In complex environments, know-how becomes very important as it allows defining best practices.

But an Expert is no longer adequate in a dynamic and adaptive environment, such as the one we live in. In complex contexts the relation between cause and effect is neither immediate nor easily predictable. Best practices are less important than experimenting, and experimenting retroactively leads to the identification of emerging practices, which therefore cannot be defined beforehand. Implementation precedes strategy.

Against this background, it becomes clear that Agencies are there to offer Brands an ORIENTATION MAP, a simplified explanatory model, which is not necessarily true, but that allows to “use” reality.

If so, this means that the model provides the guidelines to take decisions, identify the tools and the means to measure their impact, shape the thinking, simulate and try alternative scenarios for continuous improvement.