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The Future of Effective Creative is Permanent 

The Influencers 71 Add to collection

Who Wot Why founder Ben Walker argues that John Hegarty’s new Genie model will never deliver like a marketer-agency relationship can

The Future of Effective Creative is Permanent 

Ben Walker, founder of Who Wot Why, argues that John Hegarty’s new Genie model can never be more than an accessory to the true business of advertising. Brands aren’t built by short term AI matches, they emerge from the kind of long-term culture and consistency that can only be delivered by a marketer-agency relationship. Like Michelin starred restaurants vs McDonald’s, ad agencies’ committed talent provides a level of service that even the best transient, AI-matched workforce could never aspire to.

The Future of effective creative is permanent. WWW are watching John Hegarty’s Genie with great interest. Matching clients with freelance creatives using AI is a unique approach We have no doubt it will be a good answer to certain client problems. But as John himself says, good is the enemy of great. And so we take a markedly different approach to creating work and building brands to produce work that sells takes culture and consistency. And a wholly freelance model can provide neither. 

Freelance is a wonderful stop gap and on the surface makes financial sense. Indeed, we use some outstanding freelance options ourselves when the need arises. But brands aren’t built overnight. They are built by client / agency teams who work closely together over time with shared ambition to solve business challenges. Freelance talent invariably needs to be brought up to speed on a project. They need to understand a brand’s long term vision and how it speaks. All by Friday, 5pm. In that way a creative agency is no different to, say, a Michelin starred restaurant. A Michelin starred restaurant needs a committed passionate team who know each other, know the customer and understand the techniques and principles required to produce the goods. A transient workforce just won’t cut it. 

Consistency and culture again. Many agencies are struggling to build that consistency and culture with the new project model. Forecasting, finances and staffing correctly to deliver quality is a tricky business problem for agency growth. But whilst it’s financially risky for us to hire the best talent outright when we don’t have the security of longer term contracts, we do it anyway because it’s best for the culture, the consistency and most importantly it’s best for the client. It also works for staff. Aside from the salary benefits, being part of a committed, passionate and supremely talented team means we all get the training and nurturing we need throughout our career. We invest in CPD for all our staff because it helps them grow. And all of this helps our clients’ sales to grow at the same time. And because our permanent staff are so utterly intrinsic to our success, world leading health and insurance benefits come as standard.

Many clients no longer see the need for a ‘retained’ relationship. We’ve understand and we’ve adapted quickly to that. But it’s testament to our unswerving belief in the idea that consistency and culture give clients the best bang for their buck that the majority of our non-retained clients have continued their relationship with us over the last three years. And that consistency is yielding impressive results. Here’s to long term relationships, staff and clients because that’s where great happens.


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Who Wot Why, Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:33:32 GMT