Europe rang out the past year at the bottom of the global heap. The Euro closed at a 10-year low against the Japanese yen and near lows against the US dollar for the year, making it the worst performing currency at year-end.
With all the conventional pillars of strength in Europe crumbling just like the Acropolis in Athens, consumers and companies don’t seem to know where to place their money or confidence next. Not only were there countless failures from the traditionally strong financial and corporate institutions, but also other extraordinary events occurred during 2011 that impacted on the fragile European economic recovery, including the tsunami and Japanese nuclear catastrophe.
Members of the European Union seem to be looking to each other for answers … or even looking towards the US and China, which are currently struggling with their own problems. When will the knights in shining armour show up? Or will it be too late to put the European puzzle pieces into a unified vision?
Instead of waiting around for an answer, a well-known saying comes to mind: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” And who is better positioned to invent the future than those persons directly involved in the area of creativity – the advertising and communications industry?
The advertising and communications agencies within all of Europe are filled with some of the world’s most talented, celebrated and innovative individuals. These are the ones bold enough to face the turbulence and volatility that now prevails throughout Europe.
The advertising industry at large throughout Europe has already gone through a very rough learning curve. As the overall economy began to plummet a few years back, these agencies needed to find smarter, brighter and more efficient ways to work. And when clients demanded what may have seemed to be even the impossible, the survivor agencies have managed to deliver.
Lessons learned along the way have been how to balance artistic exuberance with austere accountability. Clients want solutions with results. Agencies now know how to deliver effective campaigns without blowing the budget. And they have learned what efficiency means – perhaps somewhat the hard way. Today, they have measurement tools in place to make sure each channel of communication is working in synch with each other to deliver the greatest return on investment. Many, such us at Worldwide Partners, are even promoting evaluation systems to help tighten the bonds between client and agency, ensuring longer lasting, transparent and highly productive relationships.
Successful agencies in Europe today have moved into a role of true business generators for their clients – offering ways to grow the market for goods and services – and not just providing a new logo like the icing on the top of a cake. This gives companies and organizations the confidence to turn to agencies for their advice and consultation, like going to idea generators who think outside the box because they’re free of any constraints of being inside that organization. They simply see things from a different perspective.
By combining what agencies do best with their ability to stand up for ideas make them a perfect candidate to help companies and organizations within Europe become stronger than ever. These are the agencies that can help invent the future – and maybe even a completely new way of energizing the European economy.
Lisa Kettman-Kervinen, Director of EMEA Collaborations, Worldwide Partners, Inc.