Over the past few years, brands have aimed to beef up their creative and production capabilities. The reasons why are clear: doing so offers them numerous opportunities to streamline the production workflow, enhance creativity with brand knowledge and retain a closer connection to consumers. They also become more versatile in the process; Forrester Research defines such brands as those which interweave “key capabilities across creative, digital marketing, and media between in-house and external agencies.”
Firewood has helped carve this path, coining the phrase “your in-house team, extended,” offering a variety of services such as creative, strategy and planning, performance media, technology and events. Firewood recently ranked #6 on Adweek’s Fastest Growing Large Agencies—and for good measure, as they’ve pioneered the embedded agency model in Silicon Valley and across the Americas and Europe. With service offerings that closely align with our own dedication to brands, we welcome Firewood into the S4 Capital family.
“Firewood’s ’embedded’ approach will allow us to build deeper and broader relationships with our clients, helping us work in a more flexible, collaborative and integrated way,” explains MediaMonks Founder Wesley ter Haar. That flexibility and sense of collaboration are key; the embedded model helps brands achieve success much more easily through direct access to specialized skillsets as needed, helping them scale up and achieve a more streamlined production process.
Attaining Greater Transparency
Among one of the greatest concerns that brands face is a need for greater transparency. Whether it’s in cost of services or ensuring they’re not victims of ad fraud, there are some trust issues brewing between brands and traditional agencies. The embedded model does away with these tensions by fully integrating its staff within the client’s infrastructure and go-to-market strategies. This gives brands a seat at the table and alleviates the pain points that they may feel by working with traditional agencies—like a cycle of rework.
Firewood’s 'embedded' approach will allow us to build deeper and broader relationships with our clients.
This offering is just one of the ways that the S4 model aims to integrate capabilities that help brands take a more active role within the production process. Our sister company MightyHive, for example, helps brands become more self sufficient in their media planning and spend. By pairing clients with the specific capabilities they require, we remain laser focused on helping them achieve success without having to sacrifice their ownership of a project.
Cutting Cost & Time, Not Corners
Brands are also driven to boost their internal creative capacity to produce work faster, aided by a closer connection between the creative team and decision makers. With a strong sense of ownership, they uphold a high standard of what makes good creative work. Still, a key challenge many brands face is a lack of resources that allow them to meet their fullest potential, whether it be a need for all hands on deck to produce always-on content, or specialized skillsets for quick and one-off projects.
This highlights another need for new partnership models. As the time-to-market shortens and the pressure for always-on content at scale grows, brands don’t have time to waste by following the typical RFP process or in hiring and onboarding new talent. Instead, an embedded team can offer an individual who provides direction and is backed by an agency’s full creative and production abilities.
Building a Culture of Confident Experimentation
When enjoying a closer relationship with consumers and a faster time to market, brands are in a great position to rapidly experiment and optimize their creative strategy, helping them home in on creatively differentiated experiences and messaging for their audiences. But truly delivering on this potential requires they cover the full end-to-end capabilities spectrum.
With traditional work, there’s a conservatism that you can’t marry data with being creative.
But most in-house agencies begin with just a specific capability that they strive to support and grow out from there. We believe a truer sense of partnership, designed specifically around enhancing in-house skillsets. At this year’s Advertising Week New York conference, MediaMonks Founder and COO Wesley ter Haar shared the stage with S4 Capital’s Sir Martin Sorrell and MightyHive’s Emily Del Greco to discuss how aligning data and creative is essential to innovating through experimentation.
“With traditional work, there’s a conservatism that you can’t marry data with being creative,” ter Haar said, noting how brands can take risks with confidence when backed by partners who have their back. As the S4 model grows, it will help brands integrate forward by taking back control and retaining a sense of ownership in their creative and production, ensuring they can meet success easier than ever before.
You can learn more about Firewood and S4 Capital joining forces through numerous sources covering the merger. Watch Sir Martin Sorrell’s on-air interview on the new partnership over at CNBC; at Ad Age, you can find Firewood Co-Founder and CEO Juan Zambrano provide insight on how his client-side background inspired the agency’s unique approach. And as covered by Reuters, Sir Martin offers a couple hints behind the overall S4 strategy and what to look forward to next for brands seeking new ways of working. We can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.
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