The communication industry is changing. This is relevant for the skills, knowledge and attitude that communication and marketing professionals should posses.
Until recently the communication or marketing manager of an organization communicated with the account executive (AE) of an agency and the AE communicated with creatives. These creatives were on the agency’s pay-role or were hired from the agency’s network. Agencies also helped to develop and maintain a strategy for the organization and its brands.
Now however we see a tendency of organizations and brands taking the directing role and directly brief creatives. Often these creatives are free-lancers working individually or in networks. For example a Dutch small business hiring a copy-writer, a photographer and a web-designer in Holland, and the web-designer hiring an ict-programmer in Poland. This can be illustrated as in the picture above.
For management of organizations this means that communication and marketing no longer can be considered as a separate function or department. Communication- and marketing-strategy can no longer be completely outsourced; management itself has to feel responsible for the vision and values that the organization expresses in its communication and behavior. Management has to have direct contact with the creatives who develop the products that the organization sells and the communication products it offers. Therefore the management-team should possess a strategic vision, and have the skills and knowledge to brief creatives and assess the drafts and dummies they produce.
For creatives this means that they have to know very well what their individual added value is. They also have to have the skills to develop and maintain a network with other creatives and with potential clients. Actually every individual creative is a business who has to proof its added value over and over again. There may be periods in his career in which he is on the pay-role of an agency or organization, but there will also be periods in which he is an individual working in continuously changing (virtual) teams. Creatives will have to be like a piranha, working together in ever-changing teams on ever-changing accounts.
So also in the communication-industry the middle-man is being cut out. Internet made it possible for organizations to communicate with their clients directly, without using shops. Now we see the same tendency in communication-industry: agencies are becoming less relevant.