There is notable polarisation regarding what the role of the future agency will be in helping brands meet the most pressing changes expected to impact the consumer landscape over the coming decade, for which a pendulum of five models will be called upon.
These are the findings of a significant new IPA report The future of brand and agency relationships, carried out by the Foresight Factory under Nigel Vaz’s presidential agenda. It will be officially unveiled at the IPA’s Business Growth Conference tomorrow, Wednesday 25th November - 9am-1pm, with a presentation from the report authors followed by a panel of leading clients and agencies who will debate the various models. (Tune in to watch live tomorrow here - free to IPA member agencies / £50 to non-members.)
Divided into three key areas, the report draws on new 2020 consumer research to analyse how consumer futures will be impacted in the 2020s using a framework of core human needs and macro consumer drivers. It examines the most significant developments that will shape brand and agency approaches to effective marketing in the 2020s via interviews with leading brand and agency experts and, crucially, it identifies the five core models of brand and agency relationships that will prove most effective in meeting the challenges and needs presented by these predicted changes to the consumer and industry landscape. Each of these models has its strengths and weaknesses, ways of working, remuneration and measurement and varying degrees of growth potential.
Key report findings:
- The Titan Model - a brand selects one single external body to provide all marketing services across both strategy development and the execution of advertising operations. (The report predicts its growth potential is moderate.)
- The Engineer Model - the overarching marketing strategy is developed by a single external body, while the execution of the strategy is undertaken by a multitude of agencies, (Its growth potential is predicted to be significant.)
- The Coalition Model - the overarching marketing strategy for a brand and the execution of the strategy is developed and deployed by a coalition of multiple agencies. (Its growth potential is deemed low.)
- The Hybrid Model - a combination of in-house client services and external agency services are utilised for both the development and execution of the marketing strategy. (Its growth potential is considered as significant.)
- The In-house Model - the vast majority of a brand’s marketing activities are moved in-house; operated by the brand itself. (It has a moderate growth potential, according to the report.)
* There is a polarised view of the role of the agency to address these changes, particularly whether a single agency should have the remit and capability to help brands in responding to their full range of challenges, or whether they should provide focused and highly specialised services for one specific marketing function.
Says IPA president Nigel Vaz: “This report comes at a pivotal moment for agencies and their clients and should give us all food for thought. For agencies, it affords an opportunity to consider which business model will best suit them and help their clients to identify and realise value. For clients, it acts as a guide to which of their agency partners can help, how and when.”
“The report concludes – as many of us intrinsically know to be true – that despite disruptive change, and sometimes because of it, there is an incredible opportunity ahead for agencies to become long-term and integral business partners to their clients, fundamental to their commercial success and sustainable growth.”
Says Meabh Quoirin, CEO, Foresight Factory: “As our research shows, the consumer world is in a state of flux. We’ve never seen so many consumer trends being impacted and knocked-off course as we have due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, our analysis allows the industry to see beyond the immediate upheaval, enabling brands and agencies to imbed agility into their business practices over the coming decade, and empowering them to respond to a fluid and ever-changing consumer landscape.”
The report is free to download for IPA member agencies, £50 to non-members, from the IPA website.