Picture this: You're in a vibrant conference room in Midtown Manhattan witnessing something seemingly normal: two executive creative directors reviewing campaign work and debating brand attributes, customer aspirations and engagement. What's extraordinary is the fact that one of the ECDs is a gifted programmer perfectly capable of writing and compiling computer programs at will.
That's the future of successfully integrating digital capabilities into an agency. Culture and business models, not titles, are what make agencies digital. So while agencies rooted in traditional media eagerly add positions like "creative technologist" to their ranks, digitally confident agencies are doing the exact opposite. What's ironic is the scramble to add phantom job distinctions is happening at a time when technology and creative should be tied closer than ever.
Successful agencies recognize that programmers are like copywriters and designers, except that to thrive, they require a specific culture and process: e.g., congruous leadership, common vocabulary, source control, testing, quality assurance, systematic task management and special computer access. Also, like their counterparts in copy and visual, programmers require a degree of creative control.