Agencies must ditch self-inflicted siloes to deliver for clients in a social-first world

By AJ Hesselink, COO Edelman EMEA.

The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update shows that trust in news sources are still at record lows with brands’ own channels (40%) and social media (34%) ranking the lowest. So, while it is useful and strong for brands to focus on building relationships by leveraging their own channels, that’s only half the story.

Agencies need to modernize their approach to content creation to help clients drive trust and ensure their success in a 24/7 social-first world, and that’s where the real lift is.

In this complex environment where trust is paramount, stories have to be made, shared and optimized by our clients with increasing sophistication.

While business has proven itself invaluable in the pandemic, its marcomms suppliers need to be on top of their game to help them build trust and foster two-way engagement with stakeholders and consumers in the times ahead. As the shift from legacy advertising towards dynamic content feeds that deliver in connected ways accelerates, we’re seeing our clients seek strategic partners who can troubleshoot the quality, reach and performance of their content streams at scale.

This means agencies like ours must deliver what clients need rather than what they’ve traditionally provided at a siloed market level, critically with the right capabilities pulled together right through the full content marketing value chain.

In our case, we made the decision to do exactly that, completely ignoring any artificial, self-inflicted limitations caused by things like country organizations, P&L’s or internal organizing complexities – instead pulling skills and people from three markets together into one solution – because the best solution wasn’t in one market, but in three.

Operationally challenging? Too right – but a new reality means that marcomms businesses need to radically shift how they’ve traditionally organized themselves if they are to survive and put clients first.

How can agencies say they create direct, trustworthy, and lasting relationships with customers through data and valued content across borders if they don’t organize their own ability to service those needs accordingly?

That’s why we have recently announced a scale-able integrated content offer for all Edelman clients in EMEA, regardless of their industry. This new initiative is designed and structured to provide a location agnostic center of excellence for their content needs and operates where creative content meets digital advisory, integrated marketing and connected experiences.

In these times when the most important task for us and any agency is to help clients regardless of their industry grow  – we’ll continue to invest in strengthening our content capability in EMEA.

It’s time for agencies to walk the talk. Social first means a client first structure. While every agency leader talks about ‘content being king’, integration and driving innovation –  they can’t preside over empires fit for a bygone era and be surprised when clients seek more agile solutions.

Now is the time to ensure agency land stays relevant and is truly geared to create cohesive, scalable and measurable content strategies across territories and capabilities.

Photo by Joshua Michaels on Unsplash

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