New Department for Full Service Ad Agencies: Brand Invention?

Advertising agencies are feeling the pain of a slow economy as businesses evaluate advertising and marketing spending. According to many studies, the outcome is a shift away from mass media (especially newspaper), the heart of an a traditional ad agency's business. So, to combat this trend ad agencies may need to become nontraditional.

Such is the case with London-based Bartle Bogel Hegarty (BBH). Rather than have its business negatively impacted by reductions in clients' marketing budgets, BBH is looking for growth opportunities as a developer and marketer of brands in its own right. BBH operates Zag, a brand-invention unit. Zag looks for unmet consumer needs and taps its marketing know how to bring products to market. Examples of products launched by Zag include a personal safety device that emits a woman's screams and vegetarian meals. Neither product is likely to reshape BBH's direction as an advertising agency, but they are certainly revenue opportunities.

BBH's venture with Zag is a good example of exploring growth options. The agency focused on a strength, its marketing know how, and is looking to meet unmet market needs with niche products. Notice that BBH is not jumping into crowded spaces to compete with packaged goods brands that have brand awareness and more resources. Growth opportunities still exist in today's soft economy, but they may require new thinking and greater risk taking to pursue them, just like BBH is doing.

Link: Ad Age - "While Everyone Else in Adland Zigs, BBH Zags"

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