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‘I’m excited about marketing’s retro revolution’: agency leaders on new brand environment


By Sam Anderson, Network Editor

April 29, 2022 | 4 min read

Over the last couple of years, agency leaders have been telling us about a shift in their relationship with clients: deeper collaboration across strategic briefs, giving them access far beyond the chief marketing officer to teams such as tech and operations. At a recent roundtable with leaders from The Drum Network, we asked the assembled experts: what’s most exciting about this brave new world of collaboration, cross-disciplinarity and organizational change?

A retro-designed gondola

Agency leaders on ‘marketing’s retro revolution’ and their other hopes for the new brand environment / Cody Hiscox via Unsplash

Nick Myers, head of planning, Oliver: marketing’s retro revolution

I’m excited about marketing’s retro revolution, where we’re going back to being true strategic partners, not just working on little fragmented bits of the puzzle. And that is causing us to have deep expertise and have a clear view on what our proposition is, where we can truly add value and what we should say no to. And win by adapting to the client’s needs. The opportunity to be true partners again is quite exciting.

Cassy Waugh, head of client services, Nucco: the convergence of all disciplines

What we’re doing now involves more tech, more data, more automation. At Nucco, we work with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Technology is giving us so many opportunities to try new, interesting ways of communicating with people. We’re bringing technology, data and people from the gaming world all together. That broadening of the disciplines, outside of marketing communication, has bought in so many possibilities. We can do that because we have relationships with clients that trust us to try new things, and we’re talking outside the marketing team that enabled them.

Jamie Maple, managing director, Wilderness: the joy of mindful briefs

The influx of diverse voices is really going to change the way the agency world operates, but also the way that client relationships work. Getting more purposeful, more mindful briefs (and brands thinking more about sustainability and diversity) allows us to think in a more open and mindful way. Those briefs are coming through, and we’re getting a lot of opportunities to talk to our own values and beliefs as an agency.

Richard Arscott, president, Revolt USA: opportunities for real change

It’s no longer about cause-related marketing; now it’s about purpose transformation. Our ideas are traveling the whole way through the business. That’s really exciting because you can affect real change within a business. And you can affect more change out in the world, rather than just being at the end of the spectrum.

Haseeb Shaik, digital transformation director, Adapt Worldwide: access to the C-suite

The fundamental shift is that, on the digital marketing side of things, we’re getting closer access to the C-suite. We’re making infrastructure changes and infrastructure requires significant investments. So C-suite buy-in and closeness to the C-Suite is fundamental. That will shape the future of transformation.

Niki McMorrough, UK commercial director, Relevance: more everything

There’s an increasing diversity on the client side, agency side and in target audiences. More perspectives are viable and can be heard. That gives more options: more media that you can use; more places where you can be seen; more messages that you can try. And that’s leading to a much more interesting working environment. More women, more ethnic diversity, more points of view. Those people were always in the target audience, but nobody was listening. It’s brilliant to see it really happening every day more and more. It’s just all so much more interesting than it was before.

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