Glue | ICP


Tuesday November 23, 2010

Glue is fascinating. Not for ‘solvent-abuse’ reasons (obviously), but for ‘the-world-would-probably-be-a-very-different-place-without-glue’ reasons. Look around you now and you’ll probably spot lots of things in which glue does its invisible, but invaluable job. The problem is, glue isn’t inherently very interesting. It’s available pretty much everywhere and we just take it for granted.

I was in a meeting the other week with a respected Procurement Consultant and at one point he said “Clients love joined-up-ness”. What he was getting at is that increasingly, whilst the advertising industry talks reverently about integration, things are getting more and more difficult to manage at the Client end. A proliferation of media channels means a proliferation of ‘channel practitioners’ (agencies to you and me) doing their utmost to have clients believe that ultra-specialisation in executional terms is the way to go. So, more fragmentation, more agencies on the roster – and a really complex process when it comes to joining everyone up and managing the process of ensuring brand consistency.

Naturally, at this point I started thinking about glue. You see, for these marketers, the specific glue they need is in short supply. What they need is to let their creative agencies concentrate on and generate great creative work. Then they need to funnel all of that work (once it’s at approved master stage) into one independent expert Production & Implementation agency, to handle the entire transcreation, versioning and fulfillment process – irrespective of media channel. There’s a few out there (some more independent and some more joined-up than others) and it’s at the joined-up ones that the Client will find his glue. Liberally applied by a Project manager who cares about and understands the Client’s business and has an overview of the complete creative picture irrespective of which creative agency’s creating it.

You see, without glue, the agency roster is like a house of cards, which can collapse at any minute under the strain of channel media plans and production logistics. And that’s before Procurement have even begun to scrutinize costs.

At a seminar at the recent MediaPro exhibition, the discussion got around to the fact that only 10% of Client business had to date seen the light and gone out in search of glue. Which means that 90% of Clients’ agency arrangements are pretty wobbly when it comes to International campaign Production & Implementation.

The necessary prescription is obvious. Integration, aggregation, joined-up thinking, ‘supply chain management’ (how dull is that term?), governance – call it what you will. We’ll carry on calling it ‘glue’. And, because we care, dispensing it at any given opportunity.


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