While 2014 undoubtedly saw new growth, recovery and the emergence of new agency opportunities, the spoils were neither abundant nor industry wide.
Improvement in the economic outlook unquestionably played a role but agencies still have to search much further and wider to achieve growth levels achieved pre the recession.
One of the continued areas of growth remained digital and innovation. The share of digital revenues continued; highlighted by WPP raising its digital revenue target in 2014. And predicting that in the next five years digital will make up to 45% of revenues at the group.
As part of The Blueprint’s Business Design offer, ‘four pillars of change’ have been created to help agencies achieve record growth in 2015. All four areas should be considered in context of one and other and the current agency size, position and aspiration:
It’s imperative to find the right bridge between people to meet the needs of the business today and those who will take the business forward. Both are essential but not all bring about future growth. Too often businesses hire to meet the ‘needs of today’ without sufficient attention to people who will provide a new direction and skills for the future business.
Looking beyond core markets will remain a key driver of growth over the next three years. Emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil feature high on the wish lists of global agencies, not to mention Russia and the Middle East. To enter new markets what’s the strategy? Who are the people and what are the products that will make this shift possible? What operational changes does a shift into new territories require?
Growth must not come at the cost of efficiency. How can agency performance be improved through doing things more efficiently? From people changes to organisational improvements, what processes, activity and behaviours need to change? How can agencies future-proof themselves by evolving their structures and adapting to the opportunities the modern communications space presents?
This remains one of the fundamental drivers of change-taking place in the agency landscape today. It’s a shift in mindset that has significant impact on all of the above; people, places and processes. The shift from a service-based agency to one that has a more product centric offer naturally brings new opportunity but equally challenges.
Turning traditional services in to digital products, creating products that can be licensed and resold to clients; through to creating new micro-businesses all require new skills, talent and fresh thinking. Whether those skills exist within the agency or need to be brought in - the fact remains that this new focus on productising the service offer requires a review of people, places and processes across the agency.