adobo SERIES: BBDO Guerrero’s Francine Kahn-Gonzales on agencies becoming integrators

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—As part our International Women’s Month tribute in adobo magazine, we talked to ad agency leaders, of which many are women, to tell us how they view the future of the ad industry: what’s the most exciting emerging area, the risk and threats to the industry, and their fearless predictions.

A barometer and dip stick into the ad business as seen from remarkable women leaders, after traversing their business through a full year in lockdown due to the pandemic. Let us hear what they have to say. #adoboSheCreativeNetwork

What is the most exciting emerging area or skill that agency leaders are looking for today?

There is no question that the pandemic has changed consumer behaviors and priorities. We are all living and working differently than before.


Digital is playing a greater role in our lives, and we’ve seen the exponential growth in online channels and platforms as a means for us to connect, be entertained, and to make purchases. Through more channels as well as innovations within platforms, we are seeing more ways in which brands are discovered and experienced.

Alongside increased consumer activity online, there is more information and data available to surface deeper insights and trends.  It’s exciting to think about the possibilities brands can deliver on to enhance aspects of peoples’ lives – from compelling stories to other creative ideas and solutions.

What are the pivots that agencies need to make in the next few years?

Businesses have all been impacted in one way or another, and many clients are focused on developing growth marketing strategies for the future. Consumer behavior will continue to evolve, and we can expect the media landscape will become increasingly more complex and fragmented.

Agencies therefore should invest at both ends of the spectrum. On the one end, higher value strategic/creative consultative services in bringing to life a brand’s values and purpose.  And on the other end, building up the capabilities in execution and implementation across more touch points—whether through a broader range of in-house skillsets and/or specialist partnerships.

This includes levelling up on production capabilities for content that’s fit for different channels. E-commerce has become more central to brand strategies, and beyond the number of assets needed to be produced efficiently, brands are exploring creative ways to engage and drive conversion across different platforms.

With regards to talent, there is going to be greater focus on continuous skills development to stay ahead of the curve.  More flexible ways of working has been proven possible, and we can expect this will become the norm.  It also gives us an opportunity to think about the office facilities as a space to inspire our teams, support better collaboration, and more efficient production.

What is the biggest risk or threat that the industry and ad people are facing?

While data and targeting is important, we can’t forget that as humans, we react emotionally to what we see.  Compelling creative makes a difference. Creativity should be valued accordingly – the returns are worth the investment.  Otherwise, there is a danger of work becoming commoditized.

What is your fearless prediction about the ad industry’s future and evolution in the next 10 years?

It’s hard to think 10 years down the road given all of the changes we are already experiencing today.  However, I do think the industry will become even more fragmented. And therefore, we can expect agencies to either become even more specialized or be very strong integrators for clients/brands.

Do you have any advice for students who want to enter the field?

Advertising is a team sport— everyone has something to contribute to make the work better, and we all learn from each other along the way.  The right attitude will take you far: empathy, curiosity and determination. Find inspiration to fuel your ideas–through your passions and knowledge. And never stop learning–because it’s an industry that is constantly changing.

About Francine Kahn-Gonzales

Francine Kahn-Gonzales is the CEO at BBDO Guerrero.  Driven by a focus on creating the most effective work for its clients, and cultivating a culture of creativity, collaboration and innovation, the agency has been consistently recognized with metals as Agency of the Year by Campaign, and Best in Management of Business by the 4A’s Philippines.


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