This year’s Innovators not merely reflect the changing nature of the advertising agency business, but this extraordinary group of 31 from around the world is in the midst of transforming it. For the first time, we are associating innovation with many new areas that underscore the breadth of expanding agency responsibility—trading desks, barter, procurement, analytics, strategy, as well as key creative, media, digital and overall leadership roles.
Among the group, there is still a strong geographic focus on markets like New York, Sydney and San Francisco, but this year’s Innovators also live in London, Göteborg, Shanghai, Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Boulder, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Miami. Remarkably, a number of these leading lights did not start out in this business--an interesting trend for an increasingly multidisciplinary world. And we are still seeing many British ex-pats play leading roles throughout the agency world.
There was a time when we thought of Innovators the “unsung heroes” of the business; however, in a marketing age that exists at the intersection of technology, social responsibility and breakthrough thinking, they are increasing becoming true heroes of how we redefine innovation in our industry.
Without question, the agency landscape has become more complicated. With the growth of micro-networks, the emergence of digital and social media specialists, and the unbundling of so many core agency services, the agency world has also become more pressured with greater demands for talent, new resources, data analysis, product creation, collaborative structure, performance-based compensation, and the ever-present overlay of economic realities on a global stage.
Yet, the key to how agencies envision their future may be found among this group of 31. Congratulations to this year’s Innovators!