POV (Perspective)
Content in 2022
  • Friday, Jan. 14, 2022
Joe Valentine

Content has long reigned supreme; it powers our business, and it has a very real influence over the way people feel about, and interact with, our clients’ brands. But audience expectations for content are evolving as quickly as ever, and the hard and fast rules about what a brand should or shouldn’t say--or be--to their customers are all but obsolete. Going into 2022 our agency is committed to expanding the parameters around the content we produce on behalf of our clients. For us, it’s not only a creative aspiration; it’s a business imperative.

That certainly means thinking laterally about the network of creators we tap to support ad campaigns, but there’s more.

We’ve learned a few things as we’ve watched the creator economy flex and expand (especially over the past 18 months) and witnessed agencies (ourselves included) struggling to produce content in the pre-pandemic way. It’s easy enough for any agency to tell their clients we’ll “get scrappy” to produce the content they need. But for us (and our clients), it’s been more fruitful to dispense with the assumption that the best idea is necessarily going to (or even likely to) come from inside the *metaphorical* four walls of our fully remote agency. To deliver breakthrough work for our clients, we’ve opened ourselves up to diverse perspectives outside of traditional industry professionals. We’ve expanded our network of partners to include talent agents, comedy writers and improvisers, illustrators, multimedia artists, and even data management and machine learning experts. 

We’ve also set out to eliminate some of the arbitrary barriers around the types of content we create for any given channel. This year, we’ll have work in market that uses creators as talent in traditional TV spots and premium out-of-home placements. We’ll post professionally produced cinema-quality content on TikTok. We’ll tap students and aspiring creative professionals to produce photo and video against an open-ended brief for one of America’s most iconic brands, giving them a platform to launch their careers as creators. 

We’ll create and cultivate both content and expertise, curated from a multiverse of sources. And the work we’ll deliver will be distinct and the right fit for modern brands, but it definitely won’t feel like the typical agency work our industry has come to expect.

As companies big and small continue to trend toward agency consolidation, the agencies that are going to survive and thrive are ones that can act as facilitators in the truest sense of the word. That means setting ego aside and asking clients to trust that the best way to be relevant in a frenetic digital landscape may just be to abandon assumptions about what it means for a brand to show up in culture.

Joe Valentine is president of 1o8 Agency

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