The pursuit of best-practice utopia must go on
A view from Ian Priest

The pursuit of best-practice utopia must go on

So, we’re halfway through January already and I’ve got two things to feel cheered by as 2015 gets under way.

First of all, the results of the latest IPA Bellwether Report just out, revealing a continuation of growth in marketing spend.

Second, the annual get-together at the IPA’s President’s Reception last week, in which I was reminded what a great industry it is we all work in. It gave me a chance to discuss and reflect on what I’ve achieved on my ADAPT agenda before I pass the baton on in April.

I have learnt a lot and been hugely inspired, and there’s still more to do before I go.

What provided the rationale for the creation of ADAPT was knowing that we as agencies are presented with endless challenges to our business models. As the many thought-provoking essays in Campaign’s issue last week reminded us, we all work in an environment of constant technological change in which we must continue to innovate and deal with widening forms of content and fragmentation of media, and where the consumer continues to heavily influence the rules of engagement. And as today’s Bellwether Report reminds us just how many clients do see marketing as an investment, we are also aware that, for many, it is still seen as a cost-cutting exercise where clients are constantly chasing value.

The way to create a win-win situation for all of us was to encourage agencies and clients to work together

So this environment we operate in provided what has been the key focus of my presidential agenda and what I’ve maintained throughout: that the way to create a win-win situation for all of us was to encourage agencies and clients to work together on this, to get the entire industry on board to evolve us towards better commercial creativity. So far, we have addressed creating templates for better partnerships between agencies and clients, how we better diversify what we do and become more agile in how we do it, and fundamentally how we get paid for it. Finally, and underpinning all of this, we’ve been looking at how we complete the circle and develop our talent. The IPA has given out 10,000 certificates in the past ten years in its mission to professionalise the industry, which is brilliant, but it’s also about how we recruit and widen the pool to achieve this.

Over the next few months, we will continue the discussion and share learnings to reach this best-practice utopia and, ultimately, produce better work that makes brands as commercially viable as possible. We are a creative industry by our very nature, so we’re here to stretch the boundaries. "Adapt to thrive" has been my motto throughout – let’s not forget that, as we keep evolving to shape our collective future this year, we should be providing a blueprint for other industries to follow as well.

Ian Priest is the group chief operating officer at CSM Sport & Entertainment and president of the IPA

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