In the winter of 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote a song, hand in hand, in which they imagined a better world, without wars, without countries, in which all people were equal. Unfortunately, everyday life shows us that the human condition makes such a world rather unlikely, if not impossible. But they imagined it. And they turned it into a song that is part of all of us. That’s one of the superpowers of imagination, it’s multi-format. And another, which is increasingly hard to find, is that imagination is free.
Normmal was not born yesterday. It’s not a simple solution devised over dinner, nor is it a way to make more money.
Normmal is a place imagined by a group of professionals who got tired of working more for their agency than for their clients. A place that has been thought out, matured, cooked and simmered for more than 5 years. Normmal is the answer to the question that all of us in this business have asked ourselves: What would the ideal agency be like, both for the people who work in it and for those who work with it?
That question leads to a thousand others. And that’s the way forward, answering them one by one. Without being afraid to change the established rules to find formulas that improve processes and results, such as pure integration between creativity and media from the outset.
Without being afraid to get involved in the client’s business beyond communication, because everything communicates. Without being afraid to prioritise criteria that are (by nature) unprofitable, such as relationships, empathy and complicity. Without being afraid to promote values such as sustainability or inclusion, even if it costs us time and money. Without being afraid to say no, depending on the power dynamic.
That’s how normmal was born. By imagining. And now it has a name. A name that is anything but normal, because claiming normality often means entering the realm of discomfort. Because nowadays normality is an anomaly.
So far, the information has been in blog format. If you want to know more about what we’re doing to be able to say that we’re normmal, read on.
First and foremost: Making things simpler.
Simplifying the work of a marketing department is a good way to start thinking about a way of working. Helping them make part of their job easier and more satisfying makes our job better. And integrating services is one way to do that. The market is (or was) banking on specialisation: an on agency, an off agency, a design studio, a packaging studio, a buying centre, an events agency, a consultancy…
But specialisation multiplies work, creates conflicts and uncertainty. And above all, it’s more expensive. Could there be an agency that could provide all communication services in an integrated way? Wouldn’t all the knowledge generated be much more useful? Wouldn’t it be strategically more efficient and financially more sound? If your answers to these three questions are yes, then you believe in the same normmality as us.
Second: Having the right team to do it all
Talent is the consumable of a communications agency. In all departments. And the more integrated the agency, the more talent is needed. Talent to see the big picture. Talent to understand all points of view.
Talent for reconciling such conflicting outputs in today’s market (where everyone goes their own way) as profitability and production quality. Talent for flexibility, agility and cat-like reflexes when making decisions. Without this talent, a normal agency might work, but not a normmal one.
Third (and most difficult): The glue that holds it all together
But talent is not enough. As the famous saying goes, “talent is useless without discipline”. Talent alone is not enough to offer the kind of agency we’re imagining. Nor desire. Nor generosity (although it all helps).
We need internal protocols, excellent organisation, good interdepartmental communication and, above all, a single strategy that sets the path for everyone to follow. Strategy first, some might say.
Strategy is the glue of an integrated agency. It defines the rules of the game for every project. The people who need to be involved. The lines that guarantee order. If we were Tolkien, strategy would be the ring that controls all the rings. If everyone sticks to a single plan, the project has a much better chance of success.
Sometimes we challenge our clients to be bold and evolve their products and their markets, but with a few – and very laudable – exceptions, the commercial communications market (not to mention advertising, which is a bit of an understatement in this discourse) has been operating in much the same way since the last century.
Finally, a reference: When Daniel Solana imagined DoubleYou in 1997 (an eternity in technological terms), it took him several months to find clients willing to run “internet” campaigns.
But he was bold and didn’t give up until time proved him right. We will see if the vision of creating a normmal agency that integrates all services under the umbrella of the same strategy will follow the same path. As far as we are concerned, we really hope so.