APS Group

We are brand creators and content makers, working together with our clients to make more possible.

Stockport, United Kingdom
Founded: 1961


Marketing Services
Customer Communications Solutions
Creative & Design
Brand Campaigns
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Creative Services
Content Creation
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Are you getting the most out of your agency relationships?

by James Lawton-Hill

November 18, 2020

By now we don’t need to remind you of how Covid-19 has transformed our World and affected our businesses. More than ever before, businesses are having to be reactive with their marketing and this means that the spotlight is well and truly focussed on speed and agility. Despite disparate working practices, brands need to look for ways to enable greater collaboration so that they can meet reactive demands, without having an impact on their quality output. It’s a tough balance for marketers to get right, but at the heart of its success is having strong partnerships in place.

Making partnerships work

Like all great relationships, a partnership needs work from both sides to enable it to flourish. It’s no longer enough to set a brief and wait for a response, hoping it will meet all your expectations. Vanessa Hofland, Director of AH Studio at Albert Heijn, the largest Dutch supermarket, explained in our recent webinar that her team is fully immersed in the briefing and creative process under their hybrid agency model which has simplified their approach and better collaboration has resulted in better campaigns. This way of working has also had an unexpected, but positive, impact on her team productivity, motivation and overall happiness at work.

When an agency partner is fully immersed within a brand, they get to know the culture, the tiny details that make the brand tick and importantly enables teams to work collaboratively to deliver the best possible work.

Define clear roles & responsibilities

According to a recent report by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), 40% of brands with in-housing departments allow them to pitch against each other for projects. But does this necessarily create the right culture for successful partnerships?

A key element in making your partnership work is to set out clear roles and responsibilities for both the brand and agency partners, which avoids partners needing to pitch for work. As part of a hybrid agency model, you will still work with a number of agencies with different specialisms so making those relationships harmonious is crucial for delivering efficiencies and productivity. Setting clear boundaries, objectives and responsibilities enables all partners to work together, reinforcing a one-team approach.

Get the right people involved

It's vital in partnerships, to make sure you have the right people on board from the outset. This can include managers in different departments right through to executive support. Tara McGregor-Woodhams, ex-Aegon and Standard Life Head of Branding, explained in our recent webinar the huge value of aligned technology in a hybrid agency model, such as workflow systems for efficiency, but noted that the success of this needs full support from stakeholders, such as your in-house IT Department.

Let technology make your life easy

The acceleration of existing trends this year has been huge and no more so than within the agency landscape. In 2019, ¾ of brand leaders moved their marketing and operations in-house and 65% of existing onsite agencies reported an increase in workload since Covid-19*. We expect this trend to continue and see agencies becoming more embedded within organisations. Current working conditions won’t slow this trend down and we are already seeing an increase in demand for clear digital workflow technologies.

Having cloud-based technology systems in place enables partnerships to work efficiently and effectively so that wherever you’re are working from, whether that be at home, the office, or on the other side of the world, you can all access the same systems for briefs, amends, assets or approvals. Covid-19 has forced us all to be more distant, but with the right technology in place, this doesn’t mean your work processes need to suffer as a result.

At APS we successfully deliver hybrid agency models into different brands across many sectors. We create a collaborative and creative model that is underpinned by our unique technology systems. To request a recording of our webinar or for more information on any of our services please contact us at marketing@theapsgroup.com.

* Source: ANA, Association of National Advertisers, Marketeers survey