Is Disruption The New Normal?


Thank you Namrata Nayyar-Kamdar - let's make some magic!

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I had a wake-up moment this past week. In my daily, never ending search to deliver beautiful, engaging creative and design, whether that’s for services, products, or platforms, I find I have stopped talking to larger organisations. Somewhere, the scale tipped from company X (as in large, corporation type set up) to just- yeah, people or personalities….

Look all around you. Your favourite brands are fast being replaced by beautiful indies or perhaps even personality led platforms- and maybe you, like me- consider options that have been personally recommended or prefer to shop from collections that have already been edited. Why is it that I no longer prefer my coffee at Starbucks but poured by a Barista at the newest indie popup? The thought that crosses my mind every time I walk through Fulham tube station and say no to the uniform experience Starbucks for Pitch- whose formula is simple: coffee sourced with better quality ingredients leads to better tasting results. Maybe its for the same reason why I’d rather watch Pop Trigger’s Sam Sascher report on Matt Lauer rather than say ABC news? Hmmm- think about that one. And the last time I shopped in the dreaded swim/lingerie department? erm…I seemed to have blocked it out, must have been distracted by that fun overhead flouro lighting. At the risk of oversharing, I do distinctly remember however buying that Morgan Lane swimsuit or pack of Cheekfrills -both cutesy pie startup ish brands that have come my way courtesy of that never ending carousel of visual delights that is Instagram.

So why should buying good creative or content be any different? & Why are personalities so important? Personalities bring an edge that a larger entity or a corporation never can effectively fill. If you are smaller, nimble operation, chances are your needs are going to be matched better by someone who understands that because they have been in your shoes. They aren’t generally going to take 4 weeks to resource a team or get you a cost estimate… I mean by then, it’s sometimes done already. (Or as the say in YouTube beauty language- baked? Its already “baked.”)

At some stage in their journey, all of these bright, incredibly talented people have been part of larger companies. But now, it’s well, just- them. Whether it was the usual frustrations: lack of great part time work, interesting inconsistencies in promotion policies, office politics, bureaucracy or perhaps a lack of inspiring role models- there seem to be quite a few similarities. Perhaps there just came a point where infrastructure needs could be satisfied fully by a Google assistant + Skype connection, a well edited Twitter feed and a Foldio Studio lightbox. But most of all, it was because they believed they could, but also had the tools to do it.

In a way that’s always been around. We know that Dan Wieden met David Kennedy in 1980, at the William Cain advertising agency while working on the Nike account. They took Nike with them as a client after founding Wieden & Kennedy (later changed to Wieden+Kennedy) on April 1, 1982, and remain the agency of record. We all love stories like that. And maybe that’s going to be you or someone in your team a lot sooner than you think. I am just saying- the sunk cost of going on your own has never been lower. Well, we can’t all be Dan Wieden, but Dan Wieden didn’t have Twitter, so….

So no, it isn’t just products, or in fact branded services... but all types of business services that are changing too…the tides are fast turning into tidepools and it’s never been a more exciting time to be a client. There seems like a pretty massive thing going on here. But it’s not just the change but the subtext of what that it means that is interesting – for brands, people and the future of work

Enter folks like Lara Chapple of Wolfpie Creative- the new agency – (whoops – let’s call it creative collective) avatar. From the tip of her perky blonde chignon to the bottom of her faded Converse trainers, you sense the razor-sharp planner mindset, the depth of experience and the bit of boheme. Music to our startup ish ears.

Following a bravely unconventional model of transparency- Lara is tapping into the future of where communications is headed. The Airbnb of creative agencies – driving efficiencies for clients that mean more focused output and less fat. With agencies like Wolfpie, building a flexible and high quality digital strategy or communications campaign with a lean team is easy. Need a kickass creative director? Boom. Need a hot shot event planner. On it. Need a neutral group of teens to check out your latest rad proto. Tick. Maybe you have like me, champagne tastes on a Budweiser budget. That’s OK too. Since everything is managed via an on-demand model vis a vis traditional agencies, it’s simply more efficient and cost effective. & Who doesn’t want that. Nobody.

The new normal was disruptive like ten minutes ago, tops. While you were checking your Instagram feed, it all went from a fringe movement to mainstream.

Written by Namrata Nayyar-Kamdar