And boy, did we get an earful.
To quickly recap: As a innovations unit tasked with exploring new models in communications, we needed a logo that can convey our mission and philosophy. So it made sense to try crowdsourcing to experiment first-hand with how all this might fit into our industry down the line. In the process, we hoped to find fresh talent who are marketing their skills in new ways.
A lot of people asked why would we do something like this? Don’t we have great designers in-house? Doesn’t that stuff commoditize design? Isn’t that exploitive?
That’s beside the point: the pros and cons of crowdsourcing design can be debated ’till we are blue in the face but the fact is, the model seems to work and therefore deserves our attention.
Currently, we believe it works best for small or start-up clients. But as the model evolves it has a lot potential to work for larger clients with more demanding needs.
These new technologies aren’t going away, so it’s now our duty to understand how to work with them. We can continue to insist that us trained professionals are irreplaceable by the untrained crowd (and end up like our poor friends in journalism), or we can start figuring out how to turn eggs into omelets. From our viewpoint, this isn’t about preparing for the day that creative agencies can outsource design, it’s about preparing for the day that clients can outsource creative agencies.
BBH Labs believes that in the not-too-distant future, creative agencies are going to resemble expanded networks, with core teams overseeing expansive partnerships rather than the more vertically-integrated models existing today (more to come on this topic later). We see these kinds of partnerships and platforms happening across media increasingly already.
The task now is to find out how to build these new models in a way that is fair to all involved. Crowdsourcing our logo was the first tiny step in a larger Labs process to come – the medium was the message.
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