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  • Writer's pictureJeenal Patel

Crystal ball gazing: The road ahead for Advertising

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Having worked for a significant time in Mainstream Advertising, a few years ago I would have opined that the Future of Advertising is Digital. However, in 2021, this is just a BGO – a ‘Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious’!

COVID 19 has been a game changer for most businesses including Advertising. We are now maintaining social distance by increasing our virtual proximity. Hence, Digital transformation of Advertising is non-negotiable. But just adding Digital services to the menu of offerings may not save Advertising from obsolescence. Multiple changes are required at a Business, Talent & Organization level that will make Advertising “Future Ready”.


COLLABORATE, CONSOLIDATE → CONQUER – Ideas will no longer be the preserve of Creative Agencies alone. The future will see collaborations of different fields of Creativity (Art, Theatre, Movies, Tech Design) with Rational Industries (Consultancies, Research Agencies, Data Analytics). Creative, Digital, Content & Media agencies will have to unite to leverage each other’s strengths.

Eg. Acquisition of Droga5 by Accenture and Publicis' Power of One model

MATH MEETS MAGIC – In the era of ‘Big Data’, Advertising will need to have a clear Data driven approach to Creativity. The power of Data will have to collide with the force of Creative Imagination to drive Brand Solutions. The challenge will be to ensure that these move in tandem without undermining each other.

AGILITY TO CO-EXIST WITH BRAND PURPOSE – Today’s dynamic environment warrants Agility in work and solutions. However, it should not come at the cost of Brand Purpose – which is the North Star of the brand. While Agility is a survival weapon that helps to focus on Efficiency, Brand Purpose is an Infinity stone that helps build Effectiveness. Future agencies will need to have a clear short term focus with a long term vision of Brand Building.

WIDEN THE MEDIA HORIZON – Technology is strengthening the customer-brand relationship making the engagement more curated & customized. With the rise of VR and AI, agencies will have to be creatively adept at providing solutions that optimally utilize different media to provide a richer and engaging consumer experience.


IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGY – With numbers available to evaluate every aspect of the client’s business, Strategists will have to upskill to be data savvy and keep pace with technology. Their job will also be to give a “Human” perspective to the cold numbers through Data Storytelling.

MULTI-TALENTED HYBRIDS – With rising overhead costs, clients will cut down budgets resulting in lean teams at agencies constituting diverse members with clear areas of expertise. Leadership will have to shift focus to disposition rather than mere position.


SHAPE SHIFTING ORGANIZATIONS - Agencies will adopt free flowing organizational structures resulting in breaking siloes that are detrimental to inter discipline interactions. Collaborations with global counter parts will increase leading to inclusivity and overall efficiency of the system.

DIGITIZE THE AGENCIES - The divide between Mainstream & Digital agencies will disappear as all agencies will eventually become ‘Digital first’ agencies. The new wave will also see agencies offering MarTech solutions to clients who may not want to build a technology stack themselves.

Within every Disruption, lies an Opportunity. This period of turmoil poses as an Opportunity for Advertising to snap out of its Ostrich syndrome and RE-INVENT.

The key role of Advertising has always been to solve business problems, CREATIVELY. Business problems will never cease to exist; as far as Advertising continues to provide Creativity in its approach and output, it will have a shining future.

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