The world of brands – like the world in general – is becoming more complex.

Where the rule was once to find an ‘integrated’ agency capable of handling all your brand needs, the mood today is shifting toward finding a raft of specialized shops, then ‘conducting’ them like a symphony.

AgencySparks was launched to meet the corresponding need for hyperspecialized matchmaking. Founder and CEO Joe Koufman joined me in a conversation on the shifting priorities of brands, the willingness of big brands to trade the stability of one agency for the greater performance of many smaller shops working together, and how to make this all work – both logistically and in the presence of competing egos. Check out our conversation here.

Wanted: Curators

Although he acknowledged AgencySparks bore some similarity to recruiters and headhunters, Koufman pointed out that strong curation was a value-add that was still rare among older, more established competitors. “It’s moved far beyond just teaming brands with specialized agencies. You need to make sure everyone is playing in harmony with one another.”

Instead of having agencies try to steal each other’s share, he believes the mindset needs to be about growing the business so all could profit. “There’s definitely a karma economy at play here. We need to make sure everyone understands there more upside to working together, than in undermining and grabbing someone else’s business.”

This sensibility seems to be on the rise societally, with the movement to a sharing economy. Morphing the agency model toward profitable sharing seems inevitable. Having spent a great deal of my career inside agencies, however, I’m certain it won’t come without bumps.

Virtual talent

One issue with specialized agencies is size – generally, they’re smaller and scattered across the continent.

Not a problem, according to Koufman. “Most brands are unperturbed about geography. As it’s become easier to work virtually, the need to find face-to-face talent has decreased.”

Indeed, the upside of finding great, specialized partners who can deliver stellar results far outweighs the challenge of creating an uncomplicated single agency relationship.

Is it easy? By no means. But is it worth it?

To this question, Koufman had a great answer from Teddy Roosevelt

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

As a brand strategy expert, successful entrepreneur, and award-winning author, Marc Stoiber uses simplicity and creativity to help people discover what’s awesome about their business… and then helps them tell the world. For more on creating your company’s value proposition, connect with Marc on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and sign up to his monthly newsletter.  

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