Insight • By FIONA SCOTT • 27 July 2016
Agencies, which are themselves expert support teams for brands, have much to learn from Murray’s exceptionally high standards and lively approach to maintaining his own coaching squad.
With agencies under pressure to perform with greater speed, agility and commercial acumen, while achieving award-winning levels of creativity and innovation, traditional client-agency relationships no longer work. Instead of being left to it for weeks on end until they crack the brief, agencies need to become challengers and evolve their offerings at breakneck speed to ensure clients receive agile creativity.
This is because clients are struggling to keep pace with what consumers want. Brand lifespans have contracted from 61 years in 1959 to just 18 years today, according to Yale University’s Richard Foster. Dot-coms are planning their tenure around 10 years at most.
Just as Murray rehired Lendl, clients hire agencies to be challenged and inspired. Rather than relying solely on the hired in-house trend, agencies need to let clients have their cake and eat it. They need to offer – and constantly modify – an array of solutions that are packaged to each client’s continually evolving needs.
The only constant is change
We know that for clients today the only constant is change – and agencies need to practice what they preach. Only by allowing the challenge of delivering creativity at speed to develop into a tangible approach will agencies ensure their clients are equipped to succeed long-term.
At PSONA, we’ve curated a portfolio of on-site and externally-based client solutions that ensure our services are both challenging and balanced. We spend time with each client to find out exactly what their needs and challenges are, and build services around it.
Agencies should also offer solutions that bring the Lendl effect. Our clients can call on our SWAT teams to bolster specific projects; while FLEX teams provide additional resource at busy times of the marketing calendar. For one client we upped their copywriting capabilities by 20 writers for a two-month period to deliver against an exceptional work stream.
Embracing a new ball game
Structural shake-ups create many hurdles, particularly for larger agencies for which speed and agility might not come naturally. One of the main challenges I have experienced is attracting the best people who are happy working on-site with a client, particularly if the environment is corporate. Agencies often expend vast resource creating cultures that don’t translate on-site. But embracing change and ensuring teams are frequently rotated, restructured and reinvigorated prevents this from happening.
The pace of change means that agencies and clients are set to work more closely and effectively than ever before. The only way to survive in the long-term is to continue to evolve at breakneck speed. As agencies and clients start to embrace this challenge together, the industry as a whole will start to master – and enjoy – an entirely new ball game.