IAS plans to pair procurement, black-owned agencies through 'dating' programme

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The first of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company's (IAS) Business Speed Dating Programmes will take place in Johannesburg on 7 June 2018. The programme is aimed at pairing procurement professionals and black-owned agencies, in an effort to offer procurement executives the opportunity to meet 100% black-owned communication agencies.

The agencies will be from different disciplines such as advertising, digital, media, PR, events, and activations. Black-owned agencies, that wish to know more about this programme and other services offered by the IAS, are invited to be in touch with Hlamazi Mabunda on email hlamazi@agencyselection.co.za or Nikki Munsie on email nikki@agencyselection.co.za or contact the IAS on 010 594 0281.

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The client/agency relationship: How to avoid a divorce

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It is widely considered that while long term relationships between clients and their advertising agencies produce better results, the reality is that client/agency relationships do fail, and most often within two to three years of starting.

Cracks in the relationship start to appear because very often clients and agencies are not on the same wavelength and do not fully understand the dynamics and the day-to-day running of their respective business. A perfect match requires the agency to fully understand the client’s brand and brand ethos, while clients have to understand the creative dynamics of its agency.

Relationship breakdown

According to research conducted in 2017 by the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company and SCOPEN among 217 marketing professionals from different companies (clients) and 152 advertising agency professionals working in creative and media agencies, the perceptions and reasons behind the breakdown in the relationships often differed between the client and the agency. The research shows an interesting and sometimes surprising difference in opinions between clients and agencies and more importantly, offers clues as to how to avoid a breakdown.

About 79% of interviewed clients mentioned they were satisfied with their current agencies, while 26% mentioned that although they were satisfied, they were still considering changing their agencies for various reasons.

Matching the personalities is essential to strike up the right chemistry in the first meeting. Chemistry in any relationship gets each party excited, the creative juices start to flow, and an environment of trust is formulated. While an emotional connection is not the only important factor to the relationship, the chemistry between the agency and client is a vital ingredient in the matchmaking process.

Another major factor expressed by clients as being the overriding cause of the breakdown was the timing issue and servicing by the agency.

Defining boundaries

Like any new or existing relationship defining boundaries and maintaining open healthy dialogue is key to a long-lasting client-agency relationship. Both parties have to understand what they are expecting from the relationship and have it formalised in writing.

The truth is while agencies would like their clients to engage more with them, senior marketing executives in general have become less engaged with the agency and probably only spend about 20%, at the most, of their time working with the agency. While the marketing director is responsible for directing the advertising strategy, this has become a very small part of what he or she now does on a daily basis within the company organisation.

It is important for the agency to take into account that they have been selected to handle the advertising campaign and to deliver effective marketing campaigns that meets the client’s objectives. The client does not have time to monitor an agency and very often, if the agency is unable to meet the deadlines, a divorce can be on the cards.

The expectations of the client and the agency need to be spelled out from the start. Sometimes rescuing the previous relationship is more beneficial because changing agencies can be disruptive.

The DNA of an agency

Choosing an advertising agency to take a brand to a new level is an important decision. However, understanding the DNA of an agency is essential to the success of the relationship. Clients need to gain a deeper understanding into the mechanics of an agency, to keep brand managers abreast with the latest changes and developments in the marketing communications industry.

Continuous feedback throughout the relationship ensures client and agency are able to develop and maintain a successful relationship.

Setting clear expectations and clearly defining roles is the best preventative measure. There has to be more effort at the start to establish working practices, because well-structured professional relationships are then more likely to last.

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International Public Relations Association(IPRA) Board honours Johanna McDowell.

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The International Public Relations Association (IPRA) board has resolved to honour its former President Johanna McDowell with the title of Member Emeritus of IPRA in recognition for her service to IPRA and the PR profession over many years. 

“It is a great honour for me to be recognised with the prestigious title of Member Emeritus. IPRA has been my guiding light through the course of my PR career which followed on my earlier advertising career activities. They gave me access to other international professionals and I always felt that we were at the leading edge of communications,” says McDowell.  

“I joined IPRA in 1994, as I wanted to be part of an international PR organization when I started my first agency and the past 24 years have been memorable for the amount of change and development that the PR industry worldwide has been through,” adds McDowell.

With an impressive background that includes being on the agency and client side of the fence, McDowell has built her career in marketing and advertising since 1974. McDowell previously served as a member of the International Advertising Association (IAA), before being elected to the position of IPRA President in 2012, a global responsibility.

As a long-term member of this international organization since the early 90’s, McDowell saw this as an ideal opportunity to promote Africa to the world: a cause close to her heart. This indeed became the case when she used her experience and knowledge of the industry as the local organiser of the 2015 IPRA World Congress in South Africa which was attended by over 300 delegates from 38 countries.

“It is always a pleasure to create a new Member Emeritus”, says IPRA Secretary General Philip Sheppard. “Up until today there are just 16 others across the globe, and in total there have been only 38 since IPRA’s creation in 1955. Johanna is a deserved recipient of the title and a PR professional who will be remembered for a spectacular Congress in 2015 in Johannesburg.”

About IPRA: 

IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, is the leading global network for Public Relations professionals. Membership is individual not corporate. It aims to further the development of open communication and the ethical practice of public relations. IPRA fulfils this aim through networking opportunities, its code of conduct and intellectual leadership of the profession. IPRA is the organiser of the annual Golden World Awards for excellence – PR’s global awards scheme.  With 60 years of experience, IPRA, recognised by the United Nations, is now present throughout the world wherever public relations are practised. IPRA welcomes all those within the profession who share its aim and who wish to be part of the IPRA worldwide fellowship. For more information please visit: www.ipra.org 

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THE GOOD CLIENT-AGENCY RELATIONSHIP

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Johanna McDowell (Managing Director of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS), and Partner and director of SCOPEN Africa) shares her thoughts on effective client/agency relationship management, and the importance of getting clients and agencies to speak the same language to avoid a professional divorce.     It is widely considered that while long-term relationships between clients and their advertising agencies produce better results, the reality is that client/agency relationships do fail, and most often within two to three years of starting.  Cracks in the relationship start to appear because very often clients and agencies are not on the same wavelength and do not fully understand the dynamics and the day-to-day running of their respective business. A perfect match requires the agency to fully understand the client’s brand and brand ethos, while clients have to understand the creative dynamics of its agency.  According to research conducted in 2017 by IAS (Independent Agency Search & Selection Company) and SCOPEN among 217 marketing professionals from different companies (clients) and 152 advertising agency professionals working in creative and media agencies, the perceptions and reasons behind the breakdown in the relationships often differed between the client and the agency. The research shows an interesting and sometimes surprising difference in opinions between clients and agencies and more importantly, offers clues as to how to avoid a breakdown.  About 79% of interviewed clients mentioned they were satisfied with their current agencies, while 26% mentioned that although they were satisfied, they were still considering changing their agencies for various reasons.  Matching the personalities is essential to strike up the right chemistry in the first meeting. Chemistry in any relationship gets each party excited, the creative juices start to flow, and an environment of trust is formulated. While an emotional connection is not the only important factor to the relationship, the chemistry between the agency and client is a vital ingredient in the matchmaking process.   While an emotional connection is not the only important factor to the relationship, the chemistry between the agency and client is a vital ingredient in the matchmaking process.   Another major factor expressed by clients as being the overriding cause of the breakdown was the timing issue and servicing by the agency.  Like any new or existing relationship defining boundaries and maintaining open healthy dialogue is key to a long-lasting client-agency relationship. Both parties have to understand what they are expecting from the relationship and have it formalized in writing.  The truth is while agencies would like their clients to engage more with them, senior marketing executives, in general, have become less engaged with the agency and probably only spend about 20%, at the most, of their time working with the agency. While the marketing director is responsible for directing the advertising strategy, this has become a very small part of what he or she now does on a daily basis within the company organisation.  It is important for the agency to take into account that they have been selected to handle the advertising campaign and to deliver effective marketing campaigns that meet the client’s objectives. The client does not have time to monitor an agency and, very often, if the agency is unable to meet the deadlines, a divorce can be on the cards.   The client does not have time to monitor an agency and, very often, if the agency is unable to meet the deadlines, a divorce can be on the cards.   Quality control is important to ensure the right agency fits the client’s requirements. The IAS’s role is to manage both the agency and client expectations.  We ask the relevant questions.  Why do you think that the existing relationship has broken down with the agency? Why are you looking to change? What is the budget? What will the client’s level of involvement be? What do you want to achieve? The expectations of the client and the agency need to be spelt out from the start. Sometimes rescuing the previous relationship is more beneficial because changing agencies can be disruptive.  Choosing an advertising agency to take a brand to a new level is an important decision. However, understanding the DNA of an agency is essential to the success of the relationship. The IAS Agency TLC Relationship Management Programme assists clients to gain a deeper understanding into the mechanics of an agency, to keep brand managers abreast with the latest changes and developments in the marketing communications industry. Continuous feedback throughout the relationship ensures client and agency are able to develop and maintain a successful relationship.  Setting clear expectations and clearly defining roles is the best preventative measure. There has to be more effort at the start to establish working practices, because well-structured professional relationships are then more likely to last.  Click here to view this article online

Johanna McDowell (Managing Director of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS), and Partner and director of SCOPEN Africa) shares her thoughts on effective client/agency relationship management, and the importance of getting clients and agencies to speak the same language to avoid a professional divorce. 

It is widely considered that while long-term relationships between clients and their advertising agencies produce better results, the reality is that client/agency relationships do fail, and most often within two to three years of starting.

Cracks in the relationship start to appear because very often clients and agencies are not on the same wavelength and do not fully understand the dynamics and the day-to-day running of their respective business. A perfect match requires the agency to fully understand the client’s brand and brand ethos, while clients have to understand the creative dynamics of its agency.

According to research conducted in 2017 by IAS (Independent Agency Search & Selection Company) and SCOPEN among 217 marketing professionals from different companies (clients) and 152 advertising agency professionals working in creative and media agencies, the perceptions and reasons behind the breakdown in the relationships often differed between the client and the agency. The research shows an interesting and sometimes surprising difference in opinions between clients and agencies and more importantly, offers clues as to how to avoid a breakdown.

About 79% of interviewed clients mentioned they were satisfied with their current agencies, while 26% mentioned that although they were satisfied, they were still considering changing their agencies for various reasons.

Matching the personalities is essential to strike up the right chemistry in the first meeting. Chemistry in any relationship gets each party excited, the creative juices start to flow, and an environment of trust is formulated. While an emotional connection is not the only important factor to the relationship, the chemistry between the agency and client is a vital ingredient in the matchmaking process.

While an emotional connection is not the only important factor to the relationship, the chemistry between the agency and client is a vital ingredient in the matchmaking process.

Another major factor expressed by clients as being the overriding cause of the breakdown was the timing issue and servicing by the agency.

Like any new or existing relationship defining boundaries and maintaining open healthy dialogue is key to a long-lasting client-agency relationship. Both parties have to understand what they are expecting from the relationship and have it formalized in writing.

The truth is while agencies would like their clients to engage more with them, senior marketing executives, in general, have become less engaged with the agency and probably only spend about 20%, at the most, of their time working with the agency. While the marketing director is responsible for directing the advertising strategy, this has become a very small part of what he or she now does on a daily basis within the company organisation.

It is important for the agency to take into account that they have been selected to handle the advertising campaign and to deliver effective marketing campaigns that meet the client’s objectives. The client does not have time to monitor an agency and, very often, if the agency is unable to meet the deadlines, a divorce can be on the cards.

The client does not have time to monitor an agency and, very often, if the agency is unable to meet the deadlines, a divorce can be on the cards.

Quality control is important to ensure the right agency fits the client’s requirements. The IAS’s role is to manage both the agency and client expectations.

We ask the relevant questions.

Why do you think that the existing relationship has broken down with the agency? Why are you looking to change? What is the budget? What will the client’s level of involvement be? What do you want to achieve? The expectations of the client and the agency need to be spelt out from the start. Sometimes rescuing the previous relationship is more beneficial because changing agencies can be disruptive.

Choosing an advertising agency to take a brand to a new level is an important decision. However, understanding the DNA of an agency is essential to the success of the relationship. The IAS Agency TLC Relationship Management Programme assists clients to gain a deeper understanding into the mechanics of an agency, to keep brand managers abreast with the latest changes and developments in the marketing communications industry. Continuous feedback throughout the relationship ensures client and agency are able to develop and maintain a successful relationship.

Setting clear expectations and clearly defining roles is the best preventative measure. There has to be more effort at the start to establish working practices, because well-structured professional relationships are then more likely to last.

Click here to view this article online

Top trends in marketing and advertising

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Marketing and advertising will be driven by 9 dominant trends this year.

First, the number of marketing department staff dedicated to digital projects will increase. On average, SA companies employ 16 marketing professionals in their marketing departments, about 21% of whom are digital marketing specialists. (This number will vary according to the size of the company: the larger the corporate, the greater the number of marketing professionals.) According to the Scopen Agency Scope 2017/18 SA survey, more digital needs will be identified in 2018, and the number of digital specialists will therefore increase this year. 


Second is the trend towards in-house versus agency marketing. In 2017, more work was taken in-house by marketers, following the general global trend of the past two years. Speed, costs and intellectual property have been the main drivers of this trend especially when it comes to branded content. It’s a trend that looks set to continue unless agencies can find faster and more affordable ways to provide creativity and content. 


The third trend relates to the growth of independent agencies. Last year, new, independent advertising agency networks emerged outside of the top five holding company networks. The two most notable were picked up by the Industry Agency Search & Selection Company at the Ad Forum Summit in Paris in October: VCCP, a micro network backed by an investment fund; and Serviceplan, a German family-owned agency network. The emergence of these independents will create more challenges to traditional agency models over time. 


In addition to these, there are agencies within the network of smaller holding company MDC – such as 72andSunny and Anomaly – that have created their own specialised micro networks that act independently and are free of the bureaucracy that is seen to be stifling growth and independence in the top five holding companies. 


From a local perspective, Agency Scope 2017 research confirmed the 2016 findings that SA’s independent agencies are well respected within the industry and among clients in general. They have enjoyed growth over the past 12 months despite the struggling economy, and their levels of client satisfaction are higher in general than those experienced by the larger agency networks. 


With consultancy firms such as Accenture buying agencies, mainly in the digital sector, we are seeing new competitors for agencies in the global marketplace – the fourth trend. This is not as pronounced in SA – yet – but we believe there is growth potential and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. 


Fifth, marketing and advertising spend will evolve. Growth in digital spend by marketers has increased from 18% of the total marketing budget in 2016 to 24% in 2017. The global benchmark is 28.3%. We have all seen the effect this has had on the print media already. This trend will continue, according to Agency Scope 2017. 


A growing trend – albeit not a new one – exists around content management. Advertising now has to satisfy the needs of many platforms, and production costs have had to adapt accordingly. These days, if a television commercial cannot be inexpensively cut down and used for other platforms, then it is not viable within the marketing budget. 


Over the past three years, procurement departments’ involvement in marketing has been increasing. Procurement departments are now involved in 46.2% of all negotiations between marketing professionals and their agencies. Agency Scope 2017 puts the global benchmark at 60%, making this a trend that will continue. 


The trend around pitching won’t change – 77% of all agency selection processes in SA are done through a pitch, which normally includes strategy and creative elements. 


Finally, though clients are generally satisfied with their agencies, 19.4% indicated in the research that they would be changing their agency in the next 12 months. The global benchmark is 15.1%, which leads us to believe that the SA figure might be driven by the poor economic conditions and the need to continuously watch budgets. 
 

McDowell is CEO of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company

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Marketers to take digital in-house at unprecedented rate

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For marketers, who’ve been very focused on budgets during the past 12 months, their expectations of their agency partners will continue to be high.

Agencies are expected to be able to manage the marketers’ smaller or tighter budgets. It is a real worry to marketers that agencies will struggle with this, as evidenced in the Scopen agency Scope South Africa 2017 report. With our economy only growing a little, this focus will persist in 2018.

[Full disclosure: Scopen Global and Mazole Holdings (the company that owns IAS 100%) have formed a company in South Africa called Scopen Africa. Scopen Global holds the majority of the shares; Mazole is a minority shareholder. Johanna McDowell is a director of Scopen Africa, as is Cesar Vacchiano, global CEO of Scopen.]

While margins may well be growing tighter, agencies are being forced to look further afield for more business. I’ve noticed that many agencies, especially in Cape Town, have a number of international clients and can compete aggressively for business based on price and talent.

Digital

More and more marketers will handle more and more digital marketing in-house, I believe, not just because it’s more cost-efficient in some ways but also because they want to understand the role of digital more closely and believe that one of the barriers which they have is lack of knowledge. As the digital demands within and across the business grow, the percentage of dedicated digital marketers within the marketing department should increase from about 25% to 35% in the next 12 months.

ROI

The above trend directly links back to return on investment (ROI). This will also become a more and more important focus for both marketers and agencies. Marketers love digital marketing as they can see an immediate result, which links to consumer engagement and sales. This helps to prove the value of marketing and advertising. ROI will become more and more sophisticated over the next 12 months as the growth in digital channels continues to flourish.

Talent in agencies

All over the world, agencies talk about the shortage of skills and talent in the industry. Does this mean that advertising as an industry is becoming less attractive to potential recruits? Or are there too many other options? This will be debated at length here and globally for some time to come.

A shake up in media

Transparency is a big issue. It’s not necessarily being viewed as such here but I believe that South Africa will follow the rest of the global ad world and that marketers will be demanding far greater levels of transparency in media — especially with digital expenditure. Media-spend reporting and media audits will mushroom.

BEE and transformation

There is lots of talk about this issue and a number of transactions and transformation initiatives etc are in place across the industry. Partnerships will form in this area during the early part of 2018 — and some of these might be borne out of desperation or need. I hope that most of these will be borne rather from desire to partner and a willingness to share growth and economic transformation.

Durban

The coastal city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal is seeing something of a resurgence in creativity and innovation among the local agencies. I think this will start to become more and more significant over the next 12 months.

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