A couple of years ago the big, dirty ‘R’ did more than just put bankers’ bonuses in the spotlight, driving a group of bored students to prioritise the Occupy movement. It forced the advertising industry to rethink how they could remain competitive in a market where ad spend was being sliced like a trophy wife’s face at a Camps Bay clinic.

Value is a word often associated with advertising, but not necessarily associated with advertising agencies. The financial challenges presented to us over the last few years have forced agencies to find added value in the products they offer brands, both big and small. It’s forced us to find new ways and new strategies to drive ROI, and it’s forced us to investigate more targeted approaches to media spend.

The recession isn’t the only reason advertising agencies are being required to add value to their offerings. Search marketing allows brands to access targeted consumers, with measurable results, for a fraction of the cost of a large above-the-line campaign. Search-marketing campaigns, based largely on search engine optimisation, are not only cheap and targeted, but require little existing infrastructure to run effectively, making them an effective and competitive option for traditional agencies.

“…value needs to be added; it’s fashionable, sexy and attractive.”

Agencies providing these offerings are able to offer better value, making them more attractive to brands. Despite the fact that these campaigns provide little real life brand value, and need to be run in conjunction with a creative through-the-line campaign, which too often they’re not.

Creative agencies can still maintain their edge while adding value to their client offerings, without resorting to adding new services and neglecting what they do best, creative ideas. What is clear though is that value needs to be added; it’s fashionable, sexy and attractive.

This is exactly why we have chosen to partner in the way we have. We want to offer more comprehensive services, with a wider range of skillsets, at the same price; adding value to our already inclusive service by creating and joining the new collective: ‘we are BOB – best of breed independent collaborators’.

Now we have a PR firm (Positive Dialogue), a branding and marketing institute (we are BOB), a digital strategy agency (OmniScience), a marketing strategy division (Mecury1), and an events specialist (Colourworks), as well as our creative talent and all-round advertising expertise – all in one building. Value is the new black.