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This New Agency Bangs Out the Creative Process in Two Weeks”

In an industry traditionally built on AOR (agency of record) relationships, it may seem like a foolish endeavor to create an agency model designed for short engagement projects. But for Fortnight Collective, this divergence is proving that the bloated length of a traditional contract may be in the way of more breakthrough output.

“Innovation happens on the fringes when no one else is looking. Not having time to overthink things can help.” - Andy Nathan

Read the original article here.

Launching in late 2016, Fortnight waited seven months, while testing and iterating their offering, before making noise in the press. We reached out to Fortnight’s founder, Andy Nathan, to learn how the market has reacted to their new model and discuss opportunities for others to follow suit.

TBD: What was the origin of Fortnight?

AN: I just kept thinking about how we could create a process to differentiate ourselves from other agencies that wasn’t just a gimmick, but rather something that actually works for clients. Ideas don’t seem to matter as much and more often than not your brand will be noticed for something other than marketing in culture. I wanted a way to create group-flow, rather than group-think.

TBD: Is Fortnight a consultancy or an agency?

AN: We call ourselves a brand marketing accelerator. While some may scoff at that and think it’s pretentious, I think the word “agency” is a four-letter word. In some ways, I despise being like other agencies. We don’t want to be contrarian, but we do look at how we can stand apart. We definitely have a niche and realize that we won’t be everything to everyone. We wouldn’t want to be. So we try to be very clear on what we do and what we don’t.

TBD: Have you found any gaps or limitations in service?

AN: I don’t see many limitations. Some clients might say “we have a core team serving as our AOR that understands our brand and knows its’ intrinsics.” I would argue that on the flip side that leads to group-think, which leads to giving clients what they want and playing it safe. In a lot of ways, what our model does is provide a fresh perspective.

TBD: How is the use of freelancers perceived to accommodate the distributed workload?

AN: Obviously, using a freelancer model for production comes with its own challenges having to work within individuals’ schedules. Compare this to a major brand paying for a more traditional AOR. They pay for a set number of FTE’s and can expect those people to be dedicated to their business, but it comes with a cost. Some might see the variability with the freelancer scheduling as a hurdle, but I don’t see this differentiation as a limitation.

TBD: Should other agencies be adopting your model?

AN: The reality is this was inspired by technology hacks, not something proprietary. We think this is where the world is going and strongly encourage people to follow and experiment with the model. But, I also caution that it won’t work for everyone. Sure, as a big agency you could speed up the process, but it actually cannibalizes your existing business.

Now, in regards to small and mid-sized agencies, of course it makes sense. A lot of the feedback we’ve gotten is that people are already experimenting with it. The reality is anyone can do this, but it comes down to the fact that not everyone will have the same success. You have to get the right people and trust their instincts.

TBD: What is the ideal client that can benefit from this model?

AN: There are two types. One of which is a brand that has a strong point-of-view of what they want and has a key stake in getting there. They can better orientate us with their problem and can potentially provide a springboard for us to get started from. Alternatively, clients that don’t know what they want benefit from the short-term engagement, which alleviates some of the risk associated with traditional agency relationships.

The people I think we’re not right for are those that love the idea of having an agency they can brief and then be hands off. They’re the ones that don’t want to see how the sausage is made.

TBD: What’s your advice for agencies today?

AN: The time thing is interesting, but more importantly have a point-of-view on what your thing is. Then own that and the process built around it. Decide what your competitor set is. This process [of building solutions for and relationships with clients] is precious. Respect it. Do what’s right for you and don’t be someone you’re not.

Gimmick or not, Andy and the Fortnight team are winning notable business largely due to referrals. If you’re curious about how the group is growing, follow them here.  

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