While the pandemic is far from over, the anticipated upswing in marketing means agencies must review the lessons learnt over the past 12 months, to match the steps marketers are taking to get back in the swing of things.

As we review the market at this “pre-post-pandemic” juncture, agencies are identifying their core strengths and weaknesses while examining their company culture and making changes that enable them to be what marketers need.

The outbreak of Covid left many shellshocked initially, but the resilient soon saw what they needed to do to participate in what turned out to be one of the sectors that actually showed a profit.

Planning for the global trade growth that is expected to rebound by 7%-8% in 2021 means agencies have some serious decisions to make. Those who were able to provide the digital initiatives marketers and brands demanded through lockdowns understand the importance of the platform and are likely ready for the next stage.

Others will be looking to make the changes necessary to stay afloat. According to research giant Forrester, today’s customers expect far more from brands. “They demand more transparency, greater commitment to values, more exciting experiences, and more convenience. To succeed, B2C [business-to-consumer] marketers must craft and execute visionary, customer-obsessed strategies.”

This, of course, means creatives must work with marketers to meet customer expectations to improve brand loyalty and customer experience (CX). What we’re seeing agencies do right now is responding to the needs of marketers who are looking to form partnerships they can count on, now and after Covid.

The agency that is proactive in creating the perfect rebound relationship with marketers is one that will thrive. Focus must be on delivering hyper-relevant, emotionally resonant brand experiences and seeking out the talent that can enable you to do this.

The days of the agency waiting for a brief are numbered, if not over. The winners will be those noting now where advertising is headed in the next few months, and how they can produce the goods that meet changing consumer expectations and desires.

While we’ve all been warned about that “rebound relationship” in the past, this is one you will want to work on, as the rebound from 2020 continues to surprise – and even delight.

  • Johanna McDowell is the CEO of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) and a partner in Scopen SA and UK.


The big take-out:

The big take-out: Creatives must work with marketers to meet customer expectations to improve brand loyalty and customer experience


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