Special: Agencies of the year TopFICE, White Rabbit “Chasing the White Rabbit”

Special: Agencies of the year TopFICE, White Rabbit “Chasing the White Rabbit”

Budapest, Hungary. Istvan Bracsok ( Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner at White Rabbit), Levente Kovacs (Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner)

Tips for successful creative management:

Istvan: You also need to have a very strong vision for our industry and for your own place in it. And you need to stick to this vision. Whatever it takes. It’s clearly a sacrifice. Of time, energy and money.

You need to create a supportive environment. Your team members must have the same goals. Same standards. And you need to be very careful by choosing your team members. Being a hard worker is not enough. You also need to be a nice chap. Every single minute we need to spend on in-house intrigues, small games, etc. is a stolen time from creating extraordinary stuff. Not to mention the loss of energy and trust.

You also need to define your expectations. This one is easy when you have a strong vision. Encourage natural collaborations! I don’t really care about the titles on business cards. Let the project define its own team. A Graphic Designer can be a Creative Director, a Creative Director can be an Account Person, an Account Person can be a Copywriter, a Director can be an Art Director. And so on. Great human relations lead to great work!

Keep the projects and communication flowing! No closed doors, no unanswered text messages, no private zone and no status quo during a project. Even the ‘F’ word is allowed. As many times as it makes you feel happy.

How to encourage teamwork with the advertiser

Levente: Well, working together as a team with your client is definitely the heart and soul of our business. Normally it doesn’t need much of an encouragement; great clients realize the power of true partnership. That 1+1 equals 3. And working shoulder to shoulder with the agency, respecting their views and ideas could lead to something bigger. It’s an attitude based on trust and mutual respect, of course.

So when it comes to encouraging teamwork, I would say: build and nurture trust with your client first. Make him understand that you’re standing on the same side of the barricades. That you’re working for their brand and business to grow. And when you have a firm standpoint on something, it means that you care for her/him. That you want to achieve the same success for his brand, for his company and for him as a marketing expert.

I think, if we can convince our clients, and build a certain level of trust with them, then teamwork won’t be a question at all. I would just come naturally, without even encouraging that. Because client love working with agencies who think and act with the same passion and commitment they do. And then working together, playing as a team – won’t need any encouraging.

Vision on how the post-pandemic will be in the industry

Istvan: The coronavirus pandemic has caused a considerable drop in advertising spending. Three of this year’s quarters are expected to have a greater impact that the financial crisis did in 2008. It is very bad for all of us. And now we can see its effects. But not all of them. That’s for sure.

The most important thing is the changing consumer behaviour. And it affects ad agencies, obviously.

Wherever consumer behaviour has shifted, advertising spend has adjusted in response. It doesn’t really make sense for advertisers to spend on media that have no audience anymore. As confinement measures were introduced around the world, out-of-home and cinema advertising shrank almost instantly; print advertising also fell.

Meanwhile, in-home media usage went up. TV viewership has climbed, but digital increased even more: use of social platforms and streaming services have risen almost everywhere. Gaming has also grown dramatically.

Advertisers have to adapted by following consumers. It means prioritizing digital advertising. The online environment is favourable for “direct response” campaigns – those encouraging quick purchases by consumers – an attractive proposition for brands spending suspiciously and looking to drive sales.

And not all of us will be able to follow these changes. Even less of us will be able to lead the change.

But this change didn’t start with the Pandemic. It started way before. Pandemic just made things more visible and painful, like a catalyst. Many clients are pretty unsatisfied with the structure that big agency networks offer. Our world became super fast, so being relatively slow and expensive is not an option anymore. We all need to be fast and cost effective. And we need to come up with ideas which engage the audience. It seems that only one thing is permanent: change. That’s why we decided to make something totally new. That’s why we and a long list of prominent names from the industry, launched the first of its kind global network of independent creative agencies. It is called: byTheNetwork. Check us out here: https://bythenetwork.com/

About the industry, trends and society

Levente: We live in turbulent times. The whole industry is trying to make sense of what’s going on, how to move on, how to evolve. Covid-19 has created a brand new situation for all of us. So it’s quite normal, that everyone’s trying to find answers to the various problems we’re facing right now.

However, I think there are a few things that we need to take seriously, and should start a more open conversation about them. I mean, this pandemic has just pushed us into the digital world all the deeper – but we should be aware of the dangerous and corrupt world of online advertising, and the threat that online space holds for us (from collecting personal data to creating a surveillance society). Reading Bob Hoffman helps us putting into the right perspective.

Brand purpose is another controversial approach, with lots of pros and cons. Without taking sides, for me it’s just a trendy and popular way of marketing a brand, and it has its own limits. Steve Harrison’s great book, Can’t Sell, Won’t Sell shows an intriguing view on brand purpose, especially the real role of advertising agencies today.

But the thing is this: the world of advertising often falls to the bandwagon effect, unfortunately. Oh yes, we’re easily acquiring a particular advertising style, behaviour or attitude, because everyone else is doing it.

So if we can formulate some kind of personal criticism, then it would be this: don’t follow any trends, don’t be a follower at all, just stay true to yourself, and focus on finding that crystal clear, beautiful, heart-warming idea that could make a difference.