It’s no secret that the creative industry is changing fast. A world that was once dominated by Madison Avenue is suddenly finding itself being disrupted by boutique agencies, startups, and consultancies.
If you’re in the creative or associated industries (such as marketing or development), you can expect 2019 to have a lasting impact on your business. Ideas that took root half a decade ago promise to come to fruition in 2019 (and beyond).
What are some of these disruptive ideas? And how can you better prepare yourself for them? Find out the answers below.
1. The war against consultancies will escalate
The creative industry has had a hard time attracting and retaining talent over the last three decades. The industry was already marred by high attrition rates due to easy transfer of skills from one agency to another. The tech boom of the last 20 years has only added to this talent flight.
Now, there is another Goliath you have to contend with: consultancies.
Consultancies have shaken up the creative industry completely in the last five years. The creative arms of Deloitte, Accenture, and IBM are already among the top ten agencies by revenue. Thanks to their massive non-agency operations (Deloitte Digital contributed just $2.6B to Deloitte’s $36.8B revenue in 2016), they have the deep pockets that can further chip away at agencies’ domination.
Further, these consultancies have something smaller agencies can’t offer: a prestigious employer brand. Ask most graduates and they’ll admit that they’d rather work for Deloitte than a no-name creative agency.
As consultancies make moves into agencies’ core business – creativity and media buying – this war will heat up further in 2019.
2. You’ll have to embrace diversity
Head over to any creative firm’s Glassdoor page and read the employee reviews. Most likely, it won’t make for a pretty sight.
Despite creating the media campaigns that define cultural zeitgeist, creative firms seem strangely insulated from broader cultural movements. There is still an “old boys club” feel to many agencies. They might push for diversity and inclusiveness in their ad campaigns, but as agency veterans will tell you, the actual workplace is rarely so.
That’s going to change radically in 2019.
For starters, clients are demanding diversity from their agencies. Not for the headlines, but because of the simple fact that it seems to boost performance.
Consider that when HP pushed its agencies to hire more women, it saw a 33% boost in revenue per impression.
As this word gets around, expect more clients to follow suit.
Additionally, consultancies – your biggest competitors in 2019 – already have deep investments in diversity. Deloitte, for instance, has been one of the pioneers of diversity in the workplace for years.
In a world where diversity can be a massive competitive advantage, be prepared to make some fundamental changes in the way you work to promote inclusiveness in 2019.
3. Remote work will become more common
Outside of personnel, the biggest expense for every agency is often the same: office rent.
20 years ago, you would have considered it as a cost of doing business. But today, you have to wonder if there aren’t better – and cheaper – ways to get work done.
The truth is that remote work is as, if not more effective, as traditional work. All the tools you need to make remote work successful – email, chat, project planning software – cost barely a few dollars a month for each employee.
In fact, a two-year Stanford study even showed that working from home can have a drastic positive impact on productivity.
The growing number of successful companies that are remote-only proves that remote work can also scale. For example, InVision, which makes software for designers, has over 700 employees and no office.
Besides the cost savings, the other big advantage of remote work is that it gets you access to better employees. When you can hire from anywhere across the world, you can hire the best people without overpaying them.
Further, talented people will often choose a job that gives them more freedom. When you call yourself a “remote-only” creative firm, you essentially signal to these people that working for you will give them this freedom.
So in 2019, make remote work one of your top priorities. It can transform your business and how you hire creatives.
Over to you
The creative industry is in a state of flux. New entrants are displacing entrenched players. In this time of upheaval, the nimble and the flexible will thrive. Prepare your business for the challenges above and you might just find that 2019 is your best year ever.