THE NEXT GENERATION SUPERHEROES FOR A NEW BREED OF AGENCY
By Tara Page, Managing Director of VMLY&Rx London
Full disclosure: I’ve spent the last six months surrounded by superheroes. From Avengers to X-men, Batwoman to Spiderman, I’ve shared almost every evening with my three boys… and some kind of heroic crusader. I’ve loved it. There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing superpowers in action – it’s the perfect escape from reality. Or at least that’s what I thought. Because it’s suddenly struck me that, when it comes to exercising superpowers, we see it every day in agencies but seldom stop to notice it. Ka-pow!
Forgive the hyperbole, but agency Account Managers are real world superheroes. The growing complexity of clients’ challenges – and the depth of innovation that goes into solving their problems – has meant their job has become so diverse, connected and all-encompassing that it takes special superpowers to pull everything off. And yet they do. However, as consumer expectations grow – and technology transports us to another dimension – AMs need new superpowers to take creative communications into tomorrow’s world.
That’s certainly the case in health, where a revolution in how healthcare is delivered requires a new breed of superhero. One that’s able to manage that crucial interface between client, agency and diverse partner networks. And one that can help lead the charge to show how data, tech and creativity can power exceptional customer experiences.
Let’s face it, Customer Experience is the new brand. If you don’t differentiate on CX, you’ll struggle to differentiate at all. In health, that’s a big brief. ‘Customers’ come in all shapes and sizes – doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, specialists; patients, public, governments, policymakers; scientists, technologists, innovators and communicators. You name it, healthcare touches it.
And our expectations are rising. Today, we’re all digital citizens, and we all expect:
- On Demand models of healthcare;
- Virtual consultations, wearable solutions and anytime, anywhere access to good information
- Technology at every touchpoint;
- Predictive tech detecting trends; AI powering diagnosis; wearables capturing data and triggering next best steps; digital therapeutics supporting treatment; online platforms for booking appointments, accessing medical records and monitoring disease
- A seamless experience as we move between healthcare settings – from the doctor’s surgery to hospital to healthcare at home
- Personalised medicine and personalised communication
- Choice and a voice in decisions about our care
Technological innovation has raised the bar of expectation and rewritten the rules of customer experience.
In the agency world, responsibility for delivering a brilliant customer experience (between agency and client) is in the hands of our AMs. They’re the custodians of the customer relationship – there at every touchpoint to ensure clients get everything they need to solve their problems. The best know their market, their agency and their craft inside out – enabling them to pre-empt challenges and suggest solutions long before a problem lands. In health, those challenges are unique and nuanced – requiring an additional layer of expertise to create communications that connect and change lives. It’s a superhero mission.
But even superheroes need new superpowers when the world around them evolves. Today’s AMs need to engage UX, CX, strategists, technologists, data scientists, innovation teams… and so much more besides. They need to understand every function of the agency business and how it contributes to creative innovation.
But that’s not all. They need a good grounding in the basics of technology, ethnography and creativity. They need to understand – and be connected with – diverse stakeholder communities right across the health ecosystem. And they need to be trained and empowered to show clients the magic that’s possible when you connect data and tech with stunning creativity.
As healthcare moves closer towards an omnichannel world, we know great communications are the best hope we have of connecting the dots. Delivering them means bringing together the knowledge and innovation that inspire brilliant health experiences. That means combining tech, data and creativity with deep expertise in medical science. And it means giving specialist AMs the new superpowers they need to be the fearless guardians of the customer experience.
If the last six months have taught me anything, it’s that my kids are obsessed with superheroes. Little do they know that their mum works with superheroes each and every day. It’s time we retooled them for tomorrow’s world.