The agency model

What will the future of our industry look like? We asked the experts for their predictions.

The rise of the AOR
By Jay Bertram, president, TBWACanada

Seeing the need to operate at the speed of culture, progressive creative agencies reclaim communications planning as a core offering focusing on brand behaviour across owned, created, earned and paid media. Experiencing the advantages of having one lead partner driving their brand behaviour, enlightened clients may begin to question the role of, and need for, media buying shops as currently configured.
This will redefine the relationships creative agencies will have with independent media companies, resulting in enhanced and more effective communication plans. In the end, they will become closer than ever, forming more effective partnerships.
Further, given the need to deliver 24/7 communications and brand behaviour that responds and reacts to market and consumer activities, clients begin to question the need for multiple communication partners. One-stop brand behaviour agencies re-emerge to lead the next creative explosion. Creative agencies will need to adopt a “jazz ensemble” leadership style versus being “the conductor” of the orchestra. The need for communication plans that react and play off each other will be the tune of the day.
Finally, “shopper marketing” becomes much more important as new competitors enter the Canadian market, putting pressure on under-resourced, under-funded local shops.

The fall of the AOR
By Al Scornaienchi, president & CEO, Agency59

While there will always be new technology around the corner, there is change in the air that is much more fundamental. The service model is changing.
What will diminish in the future is the practice of an “agency of record,” where one agency has exclusivity over a client’s business. Clients will be matching talent to task much more so than is the case today. This both worries and excites me. You’ll be as good as your last campaign. The communications industry will become more fluid. 
Essentially, many clients will have a pool of preferred agency suppliers, delivering a myriad of services on a campaign-by-campaign basis. It exists today, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. It will become more common.
Senior marketing people are more transient than ever before. As they move around it will be easier to bring along their favourite agency teams. In effect, the company-to-company bond will weaken, but the individual-to-individual bond will strengthen. Meanwhile, agencies will have a constantly evolving client list, with major assignments rolling in and out. The better you are, the more in-demand you’ll be. To thrive, you’ll need to be nimble. If you’re rigid and mired in process – you’re doomed.
Guess we’ll all have to get better at “playing nice in the sandbox.” (We’ll bring the pail.)

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