Brands search for new agency skills according to latest report

By The Drum | Editorial

December 21, 2020 | 5 min read

In a recent survey of brand marketers 61% suggested that their needs from agencies were changed due to the new conditions caused by the Covid crisis.

Following The Drum’s recent Agency Outlook Report, The Drum has undertaken a survey of brand marketers to understand just how their practices and plans have been affected by this year’s pandemic.

Many of the findings confirm the scale and universal nature of the impacts, with 90% of those brands surveyed admitting to plans in a state of flux. That sense of change is also borne out by the 61% who indicated changed agency requirements.

brand agency survey

Brands search for new agency skills according to latest report

Cat Hartland of The Drum Recommends, commented that “with client requirements constantly changing and evolving, agencies have to respond to the need for agility, flexibility and speed. The agencies that have delivered on those promises for clients will come out of this period all the stronger for it.”

The survey included responses from individuals predominantly working for brands with 1000 or more employees and trading globally or in international markets. Respondent’s roles were spread across marketing, brand, communications and innovation functions.

Demand for digital skills and channels can also be noted with almost half of all brands increased spend on digital channels and with Social, Search and E-commerce suggested as priority areas.

Josh McCarthy, Head of Brand Communications for Ballantine’s said “I like to call 2020 the plan-replan year. But among it all, we’ve had to learn and learn fast.

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“It’s accelerated ideas, plans and forced us to go back to good old fashioned entrepreneurialism in many areas, especially online.”

Survey results also show that hiring plans have been on hold for many brands, both in terms of staff and external agency partners. Whether this returns to more normal practice in 2021 remains to be seen, but what is certain is that many agencies have been there when it mattered for clients in 2020, with 83% of brands thankful for the high level of support provided.

McCarthy adds “Alongside our partners, we’ve had to innovate and now we have new ways to bring value to our customers, new ways to drive our business forward and new routes to market. If you ever needed to prove the cliché “Strength through Adversity” then for us 2020 was just that.”

The brand survey results are available to download free using the form below and includes insight into the practices and plans of marketers as well as facts on resourcing, agency relations, agency search habits and selection criteria.

The Drum provides solutions for brands and agencies including:

  • The Drum Plus – your access-all-areas pass to

  • The Drum Recommends – where clients find recommended agencies

  • The Drum Awards – the global awards that recognize best practice, the best companies and the best people from the marketing and communications industry.

You can find out more about the Brand Survey Report here.


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