The interplay of knowledge

TBWA's Sara Tate looks at how established players and new businesses can learn from each other.

Sara Tate, CEO of TBWA, will be chairing a panel of next-generation agencies at our Business Growth Conference in July. She talked to us about the interplay of knowledge that is happening between them and established players.

How established players and new businesses can learn from each other

Book tickets to the IPA Business Growth Conference.

I've worked in several agencies over the years, of different shapes and sizes. One thing that remained constant was the need for those agencies to continually evolve their business structures and processes. In the last decade, this has become even more important. As an industry facing great upheaval, we have been compelled to do some serious navel-gazing, in search of new ways to create growth for our clients.

It’s encouraging to see a slew of new companies experimenting with different business models. But I’m interested in what actually works. Which innovations materially improve the outcomes of our industry - the work we do for clients and the growth it creates for them? After all, changes to structure and culture, no matter how radical they seem, are nothing more than logistics if all they do is result in the same outcomes.

So, I’m looking forward to chairing the ‘Next Generation’ panel at the IPA Business Growth Conference on 10 July. The panellists I’m talking to are all interesting because they have some serious years in the industry under their belts. They’ve seen and participated in some of our more entrenched business models, but have chosen to step away and build something new themselves. I’d like to know what they’ve taken from those models and what they’ve ditched. And how has that improved their access to talent, the working environment and of course, the resulting work?

We, in the more established agencies, can learn a lot from our newer counterparts, and they from us. As clients’ needs become ever more diversified, a broader range of businesses is needed. We as an industry have started to diversify in response, in terms of the types of companies out there, and of the flexibility that agencies are now trying to offer clients and employees.

We see established companies start to take on some of the practices that originated in younger agencies. Changes to remuneration is an obvious one. Retaining a more flexible talent pool, and putting together more bespoke teams to solve clients’ problems is another hot topic. Flexible working practices for employees should become the norm. At TBWA we have people working two, three, and four day weeks. And they aren’t all returning parents. Many other employees are taking that opportunity to carve out a new way of working for themselves.

As we reshape the industry, the dialogue between the established and the new has never been more critical. Bodies like the IPA help provide the opportunity for us to have that debate. The Business Growth Conference will be the perfect chance to interrogate practitioners on the bleeding edge of business practice in advertising today, to find out what really works.

Sara will be joined at the IPA Business Growth conference by Amelia Torode, founder of the Fawnbrake Collective, David Abraham, founder of Wonderhood Studios, and Chris Clarke, Creative Partner at Group of Humans.

Last updated 21 January 2022