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Notes on Rei Inamoto of AKQA’s SouthBySouthwest Talk: Why Ad Agencies Should Emulate Tech Startups

Press Kitchen was fortunate enough to attend AKQA’s Ray Inamoto’s SXSW Digital panel exploring his theory that Ad Agencies should mold themselves to function more like tech startups. Zooming in on Structure, Compensation and Process, he explores the benefits to an agency of operating with flexible structure of a startup.  

Structure:  Inamoto explains how the traditional creative team of the copywriter and art director is no longer conducive to the growth of digital integration.  He goes on to explain how it is more beneficial for agencies to have a less formalized hierarchy. The traditional system, in his opinion, doesn’t allow creativity and innovation to flourish.  Wearing many hats as is often the case with startups allows agencies more agility with their creative ideas.

Compensation: Though agencies prefer working for their clients on retainer, Inamoto explains how agencies should think of themselves as working in the “talent business” and move from resource allocation to talent casting.  One example he notes is the concept of charging clients based on the performance of the idea to shift the focus to innovation and results rather than following a traditional structure and workflow.

Process: Agency process for traditional campaigns has been historically linear, but with nontraditional and integrated campaigns this “old world” process fails to serve the new world order.  He notes, “In order for things to be truly groundbreaking and successful you need three things: Insight + Desire + Utility.” All three must exist in order for great creative ideas to be conceived and brought to fruition.

For other great recaps of SXSW Interactive, check out the InfomationWeek blog.


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