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Agencies need to become more direct business partners with brands, according to GREY (Thailand) LTD. CCO Sompat Trisadikun

SHANGHAI, CHINA — If creative agencies want to survive the coming years, they’ll need to be more involved in generating business for their clients, according to GREY (THAILAND) LTD. Chief Creative Officer Sompat Trisadikun. Sompat shared these thoughts in an exclusive interview with adobo Magazine Editor-in-Chief Angel Guerrero, held during the judging rounds of the 2023 ONE Asia Awards last October in Shanghai, China.

Sompat brought over 30 years of experience to the ONE Asia jury, having worked with brands such as McDonald’s, LINE, and Samsung, as well as public good organizations like the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. The multi-awarded creative – holding more than 800 local and international awards to date – was a first-time juror at ONE Asia, but was a wellspring of valuable insights throughout judging.

Many of those insights involved the massive changes creative agencies can expect to undergo in terms of their relationships with clients, due to developments in generative AI.

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“I have one client in Thailand, they teach their people in the company to do AI,” he shared. “They have a class so people can prompt and do the visuals. In the future, I think maybe the clients can do the same things as we do, because they can even use ChatGPT to come up with the idea.”

“That’s why we have to help them [in] business more,” he added.

The value of creative agencies in the future won’t come solely from ideation, nor will it come from execution. Sompat asserts that an agency’s role will shift towards providing more direct business solutions such as product development.

“We cannot do the same old thing anymore. A lot of things changed. We have to be more helpful to the client, more than just [doing] good campaigns,” he said. “I think our advantage is we are creative people. We can help [clients] to create business, for example.”

But, as he cautioned, “I think our edge is not gonna be really strong anymore, so we need something else to replace [it]. In the future, the young creatives have to learn to do business more, just not doing good creative work.”

“We can help them to make more money, or we help them to develop the product or the service,” Sompat concluded.

The key is in applying an agency’s creative strengths to novel business solutions while learning from creative leaders in other regions. In the case of Thailand, for example, Sompat said that Thai agencies need to look beyond their signature brand of humor in advertising.

“We are really strong on theme and humor thing; that’s not enough anymore,” he said. “We have to improve ourselves to do something else, like other countries can do. Like India for example, they can use their culture and do some stuff. Or even China, they can do data, a lot of data, and you have to move fast.”

“You cannot be alone; you have to talk to someone or learn from someone and put it together and make it happen.”

See Sompat’s other insights on the advertising industry and his take on the region’s creativity in the full interview below:

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