The biggest challenge facing advertising agencies today is that they are approaching business in the way they did before the economic recession, despite a significantly changed landscape, says Odette van der Haar, the incoming CEO of J Walter Thompson Johannesburg. Instead, she says, clients are looking for agility, dynamism and bespoke solutions to complex business problems that serve as quick fixes with long-term benefits – and agencies need to understand this and act accordingly. “Gone are the days where creative content wows clients,” says Van der Haar. “Clients need creative solutions to their business problems. Agencies need to shift from being only creative content generators to creative business solutions generators.” Creative content is not enough to contribute tangibly to the bottom line of clients, she says. Unless agencies adapt and embrace the need for creativity in every aspect of the business – not just in content generation – they will not survive. Van der Haar, who ...

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