The Future of the Agency Model - time for a new breed?Aug 10, 2018
I was at The Agency Summit last Friday held at The Ned and run by Ian Harris of Agency Hackers. For anyone who runs an agency, this is definitely the must-attend event. It’s the second year running I’ve been to the event and I’m always blown away by the mix of speakers and interesting content.
There was a lot of chat this year about the future of agencies. The industry has become more commoditised, companies are consolidating their agencies, it’s a tough marketplace to survive in with shrinking margins and declining revenue. Those that survive and thrive are those who can set themselves apart, find their “Blue Ocean” to operate it (if you haven’t read Blue Ocean Strategy, I can highly recommend it). Clients are now dealing with different problems - it’s all about data, digital transformation and customer experience and they are looking for agencies who can be a true consultative partner who can help them with navigate these new challenges.
Agencies need to evolve if they wish to thrive in such a changing and challenging environment.
So which agencies are adapting well?
- Oliver - they are a great example of an agency creating their own Blue Ocean by building dedicated agencies in-house. They aren’t the only agency doing this, Conran Design Group have been running in-house design teams for years now but Oliver are known solely for being an in-house agency.
- Lab - Jonny Tooze shared his experiences at The Agency Summit on how he changed the focus of his agency to respond to changing clients’ needs. They blend neuromarketing, psychology and behavioural economics to really understand how people make decisions and this leads to better results for their clients.
- Ustwo are disrupting industries and defining new frontiers. Their mission is to launch products, services and companies that have a meaningful impact on the world. They are definitely challenging what it means to be a digital product studio.
- Fawnbrake Collective - set up by Amelia Torode respond to clients’ needs by building flexible teams made up of the right talent for the right project. There are no layers of bureaucracy, no internal email, no HQ and no organisational charts.
- Propellernet - they focus on innovation in technology to create and launch their own products that meet the demands of clients and solve some of the common challenges in the industry. Answer the Public (who doesn’t love the bearded dude!) and Coverage Book are two examples of their successful product launches.
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So how should you adapt and evolve? Think about what clients want and what their challenges are and really spend some time thinking about how you can adapt and change to meet those clients’ needs. Clients are looking for radical transparency, innovation in tech, consultative parnerships and innovations in creativity - where can your agency fit in? For more inspiration I can definitely recommend you have a read of this LinkedIn post by Lindsey Slaber from Sunday Dinner who shares some really interesting examples of people who really are pushing boundaries and daring to be different.
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