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IPA ADAPT agenda creates movement for change

IPA President Ian Priest’s agenda has delivered on its promise of creating a movement for change across the key areas of Alliances, Diversification, Agility, Performance and Talent, reveals a new Kingston Smith W1 and IPA survey published last night, 16 March 2015.


Says IPA President Ian Priest: “It is rewarding to see that my ADAPT agenda has proved fit for purpose at a time of transition and has helped the industry mature to embrace the new opportunities created by the digital economy. It is also encouraging to see early signs of improvements with a change of climate against wasteful pitching and a more partnership-based approach to briefing with shared objectives and performance criteria. This stands us in good stead to achieve our ultimate goal of better commercial creativity and a win-win for client agency relationships.”

Over 90 agency chiefs responded to the survey which sought to identify the impact on the quality of client agency relationships and the end benefit for brands and businesses. In particular it asked for feedback on which parts of the ADAPT agenda gained most traction, what levels of uptake have been and where significant changes have been taken.

Key survey findings:


If better client agency relationships lead to better commercial creativity, long-term partnerships with fewer pitches make better business sense for both. According to the survey, the impact of pitching/relationships appears positive: 

  • 23% of agencies are pitching less than they did two years ago, 25% the same and 18% significantly more
  • 44% reported improvements in client relationships
  • 51% of all agencies are now using a relationship contract with all or some of their clients


In this fast-paced climate, agencies are increasingly finding the need to adopt strategies for expanding their products and services in order to become less one-dimensional and more multidimensional. According to the survey, all agencies claim to be offering more diversified services to their clients than two years ago:

  • 15% of agencies estimate that 25% of their business comes from these new diversified services
  • 88% of agencies believe that diversification has enhanced client retention

The agility strand looked at client and agency processes; what is done and how. When it comes to more agile ways of working, the survey reveals:

  • 32% of agencies are now working in real-time
  • 18% of agencies have set up in-house production facilities for real-time


This strand explored how the industry can move from a less time-based to a more value-based remuneration and business model. The survey reveals:

  • 87% of agencies are still remunerated against inputs (ie hourly-based fees)
  • 35% now claim experience of being paid for outputs (ie PBR)
  • As many as 20% of agencies are experimenting with co-investment and being paid on the basis of outcomes
  • 32% of agencies claim to have adopted new payment models into their businesses over the past two years


The industry needs to recruit and retain talent which is less traditional and more diverse. The survey reveals where agencies see the largest skills gaps in their agencies in the next two years:

  • Creative technology – 46%
  • Data analytics – 36%
  • Business analysis – 22%
  • Developers – 15%
  • UX planners - 10%

View the full survey results, including charts.

For further information on the ADAPT agenda including reports, publications and videos from the ADAPTATHON series, visit

For enquiries about how the IPA is taking the ADAPT agenda forward under the Commercial strand of its content strategy, contact

For matters arising from this survey and advice from Kingston Smith W1 on all accounting, tax, M&A and other financial matters, please contact partner Esther Carder -

Last updated 17/03/2015

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