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Aimee Luther, MD at The Liberty Guild, outlines how the ad model is broken and how a distributed workforce is the answer to driving better value for agencies, clients and procurement teams
It’s everyone’s responsibility to make our industry the best it can be, offering freedom and diversity whilst being accountable and working in partnership with procurement. How did we ever make it so complicated?
We all know it. Even if not everyone admits it. There is something fundamentally broken with the agency client processes. This is not just impacting agencies and their relationships with clients and procurement but creating substandard work and consistently driving down the value we can add and the value you can add.
And the problem all stems from how agencies treat their talent. Top talent no longer wants to be tied to a desk doing a 9 to 5. Baristas and bean bags, pitch pizza and a few free fizzy drinks won’t cut it anymore as a replacement for not having a life. They want freedom – freedom to work when and where they want, and the freedom actually to live up to their potential. To be unencumbered by the bureaucracy and process of network life.
The answer; a truly distributed workforce, made up of people from across the globe who can work where they want, when they want and how they want. A workforce who have the freedom to push portfolio careers as well as see their families at weekends. No-one is governed by where they live; what time it is; what the project is or the threat of budget cuts.
Freedom of approach means freedom of creativity – and who doesn’t yearn for freedom?
The first advantage of a distributed workforce is the removal of an ‘us and them’ culture – everyone really is on the same page working towards the same end. Everyone is empowered to do their best work in their chosen field at a time and location which suits them. By freeing up your creative’s talents, it allows you to operate an incredibly efficient, streamlined model.
It also means eradicating the need of an increasingly expensive bricks and mortar operation. The idea of having 300 people all living under the same roof as us is now terrifying! It does no-one any favours and adds a truly unnecessary impact on costs. Then imagine the extra value you can add when you no longer need to replicate that terrifying operation and corporate structure in every country. Instead, you can focus on building a flexible and adaptable system that evolves over time and around the world.
A distributed model also means you don’t need armies of project managers overseeing every aspect of the distributed workforce. Technology can do this. Invest in a robust workflow management platform that streamlines processes and ensures efficient collaboration. You’ll be amazed at how responsible, and dependable independent creatives can be when given the freedom to manage their own schedules and have fluidity within their workday.
And clients love this approach, they know they can pick up the phone and request a push in a different country and market and know with confidence we can get some great people from that country on the ground who understand the culture and are able to create incredible work.
But creating one won’t be easy. Building and managing a distributed workforce starts with a commitment to change and adapting your mindset to this model. It also requires open communication, trust, and the right technological tools. But the benefits are so worth it.
Our model means that the procurement journey is built into the way we work every day. We drive better value and better ways of working by recognising that talent should be cherished and allowed to flourish wherever it may be – we currently have specialists on every continent in every major country in our world, there’s simply no need to build the same corporate structure in every territory.
A distributed workforce is not just a novel concept; it’s the future of work and can be the saviour of advertising, the saviour of your business, and the saviour of the creative product. And of those that create it. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make our industry the best it can be, offering freedom and diversity whilst being accountable and working in partnership with procurement. How did we ever make it so complicated?