NEWS6 July 2022

IPA whitepaper sets out roadmap for client/agency relationships

B2B Innovations Media News UK Wellbeing

UK – A new white paper commissioned by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), Partnering for growth, has outlined the key characteristics and contexts that can create long-term, mutually sustainable client/agency relationships.

Businessmen shaking hands

The paper, authored by Only Dead Fish’s Neil Perkin, reveals that there are four fundamental building blocks for mutuality to ensure partnerships for growth. Captured in the acronym ‘SOUL’, standing for Shared Foundation, Organisation, Understanding and Learning, the white paper explains that these four fundamental elements are interdependent; if one element is missing, true mutuality in client/agency arrangements cannot happen.

Shared Foundation focuses on shared goals and ambitions, and a commercial model that provides the basis for mutual long-term benefit and growth. Organisation relates to the team set-up and the way that the work is structured to derive maximum impact and value for both parties.

Understanding revolves around how the client/agency team works, communicates, and creates an environment in which everyone can do their best work. Lastly, learning is how the client/agency team embeds continuous improvement, optimisation, innovation and learning in client/agency relationships. 

The research for the paper comprised a comprehensive series of in-depth interviews with senior practitioners from a number of key stakeholder groups, including clients, agencies, industry research organisations and academia and is supported by extensive desk research into the dynamics surrounding client/agency relationships alongside successful partnerships from other industries.

Christian Byron, chair of the IPA commercial leadership group and chief operating office at OMD, commented: “There are a number of challenges affecting our ability to develop relationships that are mutually beneficial. To navigate these challenges alone is hard and, with a recession threatening, the need to unite and become partners for growth is urgent and imperative.

“That’s why these in-depth findings are so helpful. I have no doubt that companies that instil and nourish these building blocks will emerge stronger, healthier and more commercially successful.”

New marketing brief best practice guide launched

In other news from the IPA, attendees at its Business Growth Conference held today in London heard that UK marketers estimate over a quarter of their marketing budget is wasted on poor briefs and misdirected work. This is just one of the stats from BetterBriefs, which has released new data on the shortcomings of marketing briefs.

The data reveals that UK marketers estimate that 26% of their marketing budget is wasted on poor briefs and misdirected work. Only 6% of UK agencies are clear on the strategic direction in the briefs they receive from their clients.

Meanwhile, three in four ( 73%) UK agencies believe the briefs they receive from clients aren’t good enough; and only 30% of UK marketers say they have clear evaluation criteria in place to assess the work coming off the brief.

Accompanying this data and to improve the standard of briefing on a global scale, BetterBriefs has unveiled a new best practice guide in association with brand consultant Mark Ritson and the IPA.

Mentoring hub unveiled

The conference was also the launchpad for the IPA’s new mentoring scheme. to help retain and develop the careers of its agency employees and to help grow their businesses. It is based on mentees ‘pitching’ their needs.

The two options for IPA mentor matching are business growth mentoring and 60-minute career mentoring. Any agency employee can pitch their career challenge to a mentor (from a selection of experienced practitioners from all disciplines). If a mentor accepts, they receive one free hour for a virtual chat to help support and guide their career.

The launch of the mentoring programme is just one element of the new IPA mentoring hub, also published today, that features a suite of free resources for IPA member agencies.

“The new IPA mentoring hub is designed to be the go-to-place for members seeking help and advice on mentoring and coaching”, said Kate Howe, chair of the IPA membership committee and executive director at MSQ Partners.

“Members are able to find details of the new IPA services available, including the business growth and career mentoring schemes, as well as information on other (free and paid-for) mentoring programmes on offer externally, and stories of mentor and mentee experiences. I hope agencies find it a really useful new resource.”