Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Why Social Media Is the New Agency-Client Relationship Builder

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@Girlie - these sound like all points that have been repeated quite a bit already. We're getting past this advice phase and getting more into what exactly needs to change and realign. Do you have ideas on that front?

@Hubertus - your comment is on point. My feeling is that we need more leaders and visionaries who get that. Until we keep having executives who reward only those who follow best practices, copy others and go with t he flow and punish those who come up with untried ways to solve challenges (without listening to them or trying them) we will continue to solve the problem with the same mindset that created it. I'm coming to the conclusion that we need a brand new entity to drive the conversation forward. In my experience, when companies hire exceptional people, they often spend the rest of their time beating them down to become average, or discount their vision because now they're employees. I say remain a consultant and charge a lot.

Thank you for sharing this breakdown. This makes a lot of sense. Question, do you feel the client -agency relationship can be built on the foundation of what make the social web work? By that I mean, there appears to be this big movement of jumping on the social media ban wagon. And in this process that includes both agencies and clients. My concern is that when we mention relationships, we are referring to nothing more than and introduction via Twitter. That isn't a sustaining relationship, and I fear that some agencies, though with good intentions, either 1) don't really understand this value and 2) are passing this along to their clients. The end result of course, is their overall digital presence may fail. I'm curious what are your thoughts on the responsibility agencies have in this process.

Thanks Valeria, for opening up again that can of worms called "who should lead the marketing efforts". When thoughtful people like you get back on this issue it clearly seems unresolved. My problem is, that the responses to your post reflect the same old, same old of past attempts to answer it. So let me give you my take on it:

Lee Clow, the creative mastermind of TBWA(my old agency) was part of the team, that was responsible to create the new Apple building in New York. Did Steve Jobs choose him, because he was TBWA? Or because he was such an expert in architecture? Or because he was so creative? Or because he was an adman? Definetly not! He was chosen, because Steve Jobs wanted the team to come up with ideas for a building that would embody the brand idea of Apple. So he chose people who were experts in the areas of brands, brand ideas and how to turn this into brand behaviour. And he thought Lee Clow was one of them. He could have come from a PR agency, an online agency, from a marketing consultancy: As long as Steve Jobs would have been convinced, that Lee Clow would be able to contribute the above mentioned expertise, he would have been in that team no matter what his "profession" is.
The point I´m trying to make is, that this discussion is not about inhouse vs. agency, PR vs. admen, one guy vs. team. It is about finding this seemingly very rare species of brand professionals, that are able to help define a strong brand idea and then look at everything between the brand and its intended audience as potential space to express that brand idea. Those experts can come from anywhere. Companies/brands just have to find them and hire them as employees or "consultants".
Does that make any sense to you? (BTW: Thanks for all your great posts/inspirations!)

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