“Interactive agency” should no longer be used as a substitute for “digital agency”. Just as viral advertising doesn’t just mean Youtube, and guerilla doesn’t just mean wild postings. What if an interactive agencies true focus was on making a better/deeper connection with the consumer? What would this mean? What kind of capabilities would you offer? Sure internet would likely be at the top, but there are so many other ways to connect and INTERACT with people.
Why couldn’t an interactive agency host events? Allow people to try a product before it comes out… That is interactive.
Why couldn’t an interactive agency suggest new ways to customize or build products? That is interactive.
Why couldn’t an interactive agency sponsor intramural sports leagues? That is interactive… it fosters a community… and I bet a lot more along the lines of what Nike is looking for from a new interactive agency. Isn’t the core message behind “Just do it” really “get off your ass.” I don’t think Nike wants anyone sitting around in front of a computer.
The best brands understand interactive, and the best agencies understand that interaction goes far beyond traditional advertising; it is about making a connection. Look at Apple’s stores, their products, their operating systems, even their menus… everything is focused on user experience. Just last week I was speaking with a planner who I believe was doing true “interactive” research. She went around the country observing how people used their remote controls (reminder: this has nothing to do with advertising). She had great findings that have gone on to influence menu systems, remote controls, and the way we watch TV. She is helping create a better user experience, and thus a stronger relationship with the brand. Is this advertising? No. Does it have anything to do with the Internet? No. Is it interactive? Yes.
So how do we become more interactive? I suggest we take a note from Nike, the people looking for a new style of interactive agency. Just do it.