Hello Finch – Agency choice in a gig economy

Welcome to Hello Finch, a 20-strong collective of the UK’s best independent agencies; working in harmony and offering brands a fresh approach that fits for a new day.

Six months ago I was Customer Director at the Co-op, my second stint at the organisation. As part of the 2016/17 rebrand and its rollout, I led several major initiatives for the supermarket, including a UK-first product placement deal putting a permanent Co-op store on ITV’s Coronation Street. It was ground-breaking and fun.

So why on god’s green earth did I, with all that cool stuff going on, decide to swap the big job for the hassle and heartache of start-up land? Why create another marketing agency when London has over 24 million of them already?

Because our industry is at a pivotal crossroads.

Social psychology 101. But people today value hyper convenience. They expect uniqueness and creativity; they don’t like limits. Everyone wants to be heard and everyone has tools to make that happen. Loyalty is out, on-demand is in. Sharing and collaboration make as much sense now as ownership and exclusivity did 20 years ago.

Brands need to make sense of those factors if they’re to speak to the changing cultural milieu – their life expectancy depends on it.

In fashion shoppers visit three stores before buying. In electronics seven. The stats are in: if retailers charge extra for postage or returns, or if they can’t deliver to order, buyers go elsewhere.

Merchants have to tailor their service to our expectations; it’s no longer the other way around. It’s really no surprise that sluggish, creaky firms are disappearing from the high street. If they don’t evolve, there’s always a new species poised to take over.

The traits and patterns driving this change pertain more to younger consumers – but that fact matters. Millennials are coming of age (the top end are now in their mid 30s) and we’re crossing the generational fault lines. Those born in the 1980s are starting to occupy more influential roles in business. Their influence is bigger, their purchase power more pronounced.

News bulletins might have you believe the gig economy is just for drivers, deliveries and dog walkers but I see it more as a spiritual shift. The gig economy is, for me, less about on-demand labour and more about a salient change in the behavioural zeitgeist as youngsters play the lead role.

The gig economy is about convenience, choice and control. Speed, agility, sharing and compromise are preferable to rules, tradition and rigidity.

Amazon and its instant, three click, sometimes voice activated, ordering has set the pace in e-retail. Uber has utterly redefined taxi travel. AirBnB continues to squeeze tourism from both sides. Linear TV is a lost art and Netflix is king. Yesterday’s restaurant chains are haemorrhaging custom as next-gen food delivery firms step in.

The gig economy is all around us and its tentacles reach deep into our lives.

Are modern marketers effectively responding to the changing social order? I would answer no. The stale rules of the superagency still apply, in 2018 just as they did in 1988. The three concept pitch; the on-the-hour billing; the retainer lock in – as the world has moved on, marketing’s fundamentals haven’t.

That’s where Hello Finch comes in. We are an agency based on gig economy principles from the get-go. Collaboration, choice, control and infinite creativity are ingredients baked into the foundations of our business. We create bespoke teams to absolutely and utterly satisfy client briefs without add-ons, waste or inflation.

That’s why I left the big job – marketing is at a pivotal crossroads and there’s a huge opportunity to inject gig economy thinking into the industry via a progressive new business model. We’re an agency stable stuffed with award winners, teams whose survival has depended on staying ahead of the curve in a competitive world.

Hello Finch has the tenets and talent of any marketing superagency, but we move smarter, quicker and leaner. We offer a full agency service. We excel in PR, marketing, strategy, events, experiential, research, insights, millennials, technology, product, data. The list goes on.

Through one point of contact, that’ll be me then, we offer limitless creative options and client control. We matchmake demand with supply, and with less budget going towards big agency overheads, there’s more in the pot for brands to pump out compelling creative, campaigns, stories and messages.

Hello Finch. We’re an agency for the gig economy. We’re up, we’re live and we look forward to meeting you.