Scottish IPA Effectiveness Awards: The Scottish Chairman’s Manifesto

By The Drum, Administrator

June 5, 2003 | 5 min read

McAteer - the only way is up

As the recently installed chairman of the Scottish IPA Ian McAteer is aiming to shake up the world of Scottish advertising in these tough times. On the eve of the sixth Scottish IPA Effectiveness Awards he outlines his vision for the future of the Scottish advertising industry.

Some of you will have read the fashionable business book The Tipping Point. For those who haven’t, the author deals with the phenomenon of exponential growth; making a convincing explanation of why certain innovations, fashions or technological advances suddenly appear to take off and grow at extraordinary rates. The “take-off” point, where growth accelerates, is described as the “tipping point”.

If only the Scottish advertising industry were at a “tipping point”. Unfortunately, we seem to be at more of a “tripping point”. Circumstances have conspired to create market conditions where, over the last few years, bar a few notable exceptions, most agencies are finding the going tough. It’s nice to see that the IPA’s new API (Agency Performance Indicator) survey suggests that Scottish agency bosses feel things may be about to get better.

I’m firmly of the view that the Scottish IPA has a key role to play in helping our industry to avoid its “tripping point” and begin the fight back. In taking on my new role as chairman, I was struck by the level of consensus amongst agency heads as to the potential the IPA had in helping our cause. I also know that the Scottish IPA Committee is fired up and ready to do battle.

Like all good marketers, we have set ourselves objectives and agreed a programme of action. I have pledged to deliver against a few key objectives, with the help of my colleagues on the committee. My “manifesto” if you like.

A central plank of the Scottish IPA’s role is to organise and champion the Effectiveness Awards. The fact that these awards have been running for ten years, and that we have now contributed to over 100 marketing success stories, is in my view testament to the quality and skill of Scottish agencies. I’m firmly committed to helping Scottish agencies shout about this success and ensuring that clients in Scotland are aware of the excellence available through IPA agencies.

But this is just part of our programme of activities for the next two years. We will be focusing on a range of initiatives in three key areas.

First, we have a key task in making the Scottish IPA more relevant and meaningful to people working in our industry. Over 700 people work in IPA agencies in Scotland, but we seriously question how many really understand what the IPA is about and what it can do for individuals.

The core reason people should feel the Scottish IPA is relevant is our Training and Development programme, which is tailored to the needs of Scottish agencies and supplementary to the training programmes run by the IPA in London.

We will be relaunching our Training Programme in September and details will be communicated soon to all IPA agencies.

As part of this activity we will also be holding IPA “Induction” sessions, where we will be introducing people to the free services and assistance the IPA in London offers.

IPA agencies will soon have to comply with the IPA’s CPD (Continuous Professional Development) standards, so it is an issue all agency heads should be aware of. The IPA’s incoming President, Stephen Woodford of WCRS, has also set out an agenda for introducing Professional Qualifications for people working in advertising. This is a radical and brave initiative, but will offer those working in the industry a real focus to their career development. I’m convinced it will do much to build respect and interest from clients.

We are also helping Napier University launch a post-graduate degree course in advertising creativity. This is a UK first for the IPA, and Scottish agencies will be helping by providing work placements and giving lectures. Much good work has been done by Jonathan d’Aguilar and Mark Gorman in setting this up.

Secondly, I have a clear mandate from Scottish agency heads to make the Scottish IPA more relevant to Scottish clients. We all know that the IPA badge means professional training and development, a fantastic range of free value-added services, a commitment to effective advertising and much more. We’re happy to put it on our letterheads. However, do our clients know this? The answer is, probably not, so we need to start to engage and communicate with the client community, to get them to see the value of working with IPA businesses. We will also work closely with the ISBA in Scotland to forge closer links and aim to co-operate on training and development.

Finally, I am convinced that we have a role in making the advertising and marketing industry more relevant and meaningful to the powers that be, politicians, legislators and civil servants, including Scottish Enterprise. Our industry is a key component of the Scottish economy, after all; marketing and advertising is a key driver of growth and wealth creation.

We are entitled to a seat at the top table and we have views and opinions that matter. We have a wealth of experience and data to draw on, and have all the resources of the IPA in London.

So, in a nutshell: make the Scottish IPA more meaningful and relevant to people who work in advertising, Scottish clients and Scottish policy makers and legislators. Sounds like we’re going to be busy.

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