The&Partnership The&Partnership

Advertising’s Future Is Distributed

We’ve been pioneering innovative ways of working for over a decade, bringing clients an agency model that produces work more effectively and efficiently. During the last recession, we integrated creative and media in a single agency structure, with digital and data at its heart, sometimes placing these teams within our clients’ walls. So, we’re no strangers to the need and motivation to reimagine client / agency team structures in a cost-effective way.


But then, COVID hit and suddenly everything was thrown into the air. We’ll all agree that the world of work has changed beyond anything we might have imagined a year ago, and so, once again it’s been a moment for us here at The&Partnership to reflect, adapt and pivot for the benefit of our clients.


The first question was “what do clients need to succeed in the months and years ahead”? It feels like we’ve seen 6 years of digital transformation compressed into the last 6 months, driven by huge accelerations in the likes of screen time, online shopping, and social media usage. Many of these shifts are here to stay.  Clients will need agencies to guide clients through these (and other) changes – doing everything they can to experiment with new ideas, channels and format – so as to seize the opportunity rather than be hindered by the challenge.


Fortunately, this crisis is providing some of the answers to this quandary.  The remote working model initially imposed on us has started to grow into an innovative way of working: the ‘distributed’ model of creation is born. Our &Model has always been about tearing down boundaries – between disciplines, teams, locations, and P&Ls… and that’s what we’re doing again. We are thinking about ways of maximising this extraordinary moment in time – the distributed working revolution – to drive the diversity of thought and creativity that we apply to our clients’ challenges.


Distributed working allows us to tap into category expertise from across our network, diversify our talent pools, and increase the efficiency of our output. Across our global footprint, we have expertise in a wide variety of categories. By embracing distributed working, we’re able to bring out-of-market talent to our regional clients. As a result, clients are receiving a fresh, category specific, global perspective as part of normal service.


Marketers are also seeing the benefits of tapping into specialist talent that may reside outside the usual big city talent pools; specialist skill sets can be brought in from regions with high density of that skill set, at the local rates.


And finally, clients are benefiting from our ability to ‘follow the sun’ as our creative and production teams pass over projects to each other as days end and begin. A client can brief a project in the late afternoon and receive deliverables the next morning. These benefits are providing clients with significant business advantage over those constrained by traditional working models.


The coming months will require agencies to adapt their ways of working to best serve their clients. Distributed working, while not right for every situation, will become a valuable operating model in supporting brands as they seize opportunity from seismic change. Agencies and clients who are slow to adapt and innovate will likely see themselves get left behind. Here’s to the next decade of creative and operational innovation!

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