A New Agency Paradigm

Mike Friedin, Chief Strategy Officer

Today’s marketing and communications leaders need ecosystem partners that have the ability to think and produce deeper, wider and with greater agility. This shift has left many agencies scrambling to transform their models, and opened up a gap that has provided management consultancies with an ability to overtake the domain.

The Challenge:

Digital disruption has forced all businesses to reimagine and reengineer their people, processes and technology, and the traditional agency disciplines of advertising and PR continue to undergo massive change to remain relevant. Lines across these disciplines have blurred. Old playbook leaders are trying to manage new modes of operation, audience engagement and value. It’s a significant issue as many businesses are at risk of staying relevant.

The Relevancy Stakes

Leading management consultancies offer profound value because of their depth and breadth across digital value chains and the connection of front-end customer experience with delivery of critical back office sophistication. Today’s marketing technology needs include the acceleration and volume of complex technical and creative production requirements, real time data capture and analysis, and the ability to pivot business needs with agility based on that information. Many agencies are not built to support the realities of this dynamic. In fact, many client-side business leaders are not yet ready for it.

The Modern Agency

This confluence of requirements and capabilities is why we have built Hot Paper Lantern with a future-centric vision that mirrors client business challenges. In order to support what businesses must do to win today and prepare for tomorrow, we evolved our model to support the skills, mindset and behaviors to win in the digital age. We focus on where our clients are on their transformation journey and where we add unique value. We offer novel solutions designed to attack current business problems in marketing with a powerful combination of critical thinking and emergent technologies that help increase speed and efficiency.


According to a recent Accenture study (1): 62% of businesses will invest in incremental innovation while 53% will innovate thru ad-hoc creative process. In a PWC study (2) around “digital fitness” (note: they even have an app, if interested…) PWC highlights 63% of businesses lack skilled teams; 42% have slow or inflexible processes; 51% lack new data and technology integration; and 61% use outdated or obsolete technology.

What the data suggests is the need for more partners that understand the reality of these circumstances and deliver meaningful value. At HPL, it’s precisely why we have spent time building our enablement methodology. It’s designed to anticipate business needs, but also to adapt to an existing state. The idea is that wherever you are on your transformation journey, we help your marketing and communications align “pragmatically”. All of our clients and prospects present business scenarios and market challenges that are unique: our approach is to help solve for that unique challenge with scalable, synergistic application of people, process and technology.


While we are not positioning ourselves as an alternative to management consultancies, we do offer similar value in assessing and recommending actionable approaches to yield results. We have created a number of unique partnerships and ventures that allows us to innovate and scale, working at the intersection of essential marketing needs: assessing critical brand drivers, crafting the experience, integrating the appropriate technologies and synthesizing data for continuous program enhancement.

We have found every client falls somewhere on this matrix. We have worked closely with many business leaders to shape new approaches that influence growth, such as reimagining corporate education and development through mobile based microlearning and reinforcement programs; sales enablement through brand reorganization and alignment of back office functions; launching dynamic, content driven employee experience programs; and guiding clients to rethink and modify marketing to become optimized through growth hacking. This exemplifies how a modern agency must operate and partner in a new paradigm.

Client Evolution and Growth

The complexities of enablement are where many clients come to us stuck; unable to find hidden value, or develop new ideas to deliver results. At HPL we continue to explore new areas for breakthroughs, but we look through the client lens and then configure meaningful solutions that are unique, sensible, expedient and cost effective. This is the essence of enablement: actively taking care of your business today while proactively preparing for the future.


Mike Friedin is Chief Strategy Officer for Hot Paper Lantern, a modern marketing agency that helps brand thrive in a digital economy. For more information about HPL and how we can help enable your growth, reach out to Mike @ mfriedin@hotpaperlantern.com.


  1. Discover Where Value Is Hiding, Accenture, 2018: https://www.accenture.com/t20181023T095450Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/Thought-Leadership-Assets/PDF/Accenture-Unlocking-Innovation-Investment-Value.pdf
  2. Digital Fitness Study, PwC, 2018: https://digital.pwc.com/en/products/digital-fitness.html