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IPA/Future Foundation report predicts 4 agency models of the future

The IPA and Future Foundation’s new report on ‘The Future of Marketing and Agencies, The Next 10 Years for Consumer Engagement’, has predicted a dynamic landscape for the advertising industry based on four new agency models. The report has been published in association with Advertising Week Europe and is being officially launched at the IPA this evening (29 June 2015).


Following extensive consultation and participation with agency heads and chief marketing officers, the four models react to four future brand scenarios outlined by the IPA and Future Foundation in March 2015  (iControl, Best Buy Brands, Brand Me-Q, and Me and the Brand Next Door)*. These scenarios revealed how brands will need to manage the tension between consumer and brand control. Where harmony will mean balancing personalisation and mass functionality and where the importance of customer experience within the marketing mix will be one of the key drivers for success.

The implications for agencies are: they need to broaden their definition of creativity, they need to gain a deeper understanding of their clients’ businesses and they need a richer base of talent to deliver.

The four new agency models** to match these different needs of this future environment are:

This model puts the emphasis on strategic consultancy and reinvention, to advise clients on continuous brand refreshment and sources of specialness.

This model puts the emphasis on talent spotting and nurturing of super-creative consumers to tell the brand story for clients.

This model puts the emphasis on creating spaces to facilitate consumer creation with branded tools.

This model puts the emphasis on the design and build of frictionless, total, transparent marketplaces for consumers who care.

Says Melanie Howard, Chair of the Future Foundation, “We have designed this innovative new programme to equip agency strategists and planners with the tools and skills they need to run really effective engagement workshops to review where existing client brands are headed and how the agency can partner more strategically with them in future.  Most importantly we will explore what the future view means for the agency itself and empower them to challenge internal thinking at the most senior level to accelerate necessary change.”

Says Janet Hull, IPA Director of Marketing Strategy, “As the digital economy goes mainstream, agencies need to rethink their product and service offer and commercial model with brands and businesses. This study aims to provide a helpful framework against which to create a new vision, and repurpose the business, and the talent pool, as part of the IPA membership’s wider technology, innovation and commercial agenda.”

The report is available to download from the IPA website, for £35+VAT for IPA members and £50+VAT for non-IPA members here.

Notes to editors:

The latest findings follow the publication of the Future Foundation and IPA’s seminal report ‘The future of advertising and agencies: A 10-year perspective’. Published in 2006, it provoked significant changes in strategy and focus for leading brands and agencies at the time. Further details here

*Future brand scenarios

-          iControl, paints a potentially alarming picture for today’s established brands and agencies. It anticipates a future world of tech-empowered, self-sufficient consumers who create tools, services and even products independent of branded influence.

-          Best Buy Brands: brands play a wholly functional role and consumers rely on them to deliver best-in-class products and services. Innovation and performance are prioritised by brands and emotional marketing takes a back seat.

-          Brand Me-Q: brands have become genuine partners for consumers. Deep emotional engagement and lifestyle management are delivered via advice and entertainment, unlocking creativity and delivering surprise and delight.

-          Me and the Brand Next Door: self-sufficient consumers see their relationship with brands as friendships. Brands take a back seat, but provide consumers with platforms and opportunities to achieve and fulfil individual potential. Emotional engagement with brands can be high, if less overt than with Brand Me-Q.

**Further details on agency models of the future (see p45-55 of report)

Last updated 30/06/2015

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