One of the most powerful things about Campaign’s School Reports is that they are, essentially, a judgment on a collection of people.
Sure, agency fortunes can turn on the decisions of just a couple of marketers; and the wider political or economic climate can affect activity and growth; and parent holding companies can turn the dial on investment and resources. But, rock bottom, an agency is its people. And it’s how this collection of individuals navigated last year’s challenges that we’re assessing here.
So to underline the fact that advertising is still, thank goodness, a people business, this year we’ve asked agencies to name not just their management team but also their star player from the ranks. I love the idea of celebrating those individuals alongside some of the more functional metrics of agency health, such as billings and new business.
We also asked agencies which other agency and person in the industry they most admire. No surprise who took these accolades, but it’s inspiring to hear more about the people behind the headline success.
As for the companies themselves, there’s the usual mixture of high achievers and strugglers. Mind you, looking back on the rollercoaster of 2016, holding on tight and keeping a straight course was actually quite some achievement; it was a year when turning in an adequate performance was probably quite a relief to many.
Congratulations to all those agencies that did better than enjoy an unremarkable year. But I hope there are some wake-up calls here for all those that failed to live up to their promise(s); 2017 is unlikely to be a year that tolerates inadequacy.