Nigel Vaz has promised to help IPA member agencies find new ways to deliver for clients at his inaugural address as the organisation’s president.
At a lunch in London today to mark his succession to The & Partnership chief executive and partner Sarah Golding, Vaz acknowledged that agencies were struggling to achieve growth, with clients questioning their value.
Vaz's reaction will come in the form of what he called the IPA’s "reimagine challenge", which he said would "encourage agencies to act like start-ups and explore and develop new business models".
The IPA will work with private-equity partners and intermediaries to validate new agency models and will extend this to a global initiative, Vaz promised, adding that the IPA’s Business Growth Conference in July would shed more light.
The trade body will also conduct new research into consumer’s experience of brands and communications in a digital age to help agencies reimagine their clients' businesses.
"What, when, where and how we consume is changing. Our clients are struggling to adapt to this – and we have to be their partners to help them navigate this," Vaz said.
Remarking on being the first president from a technology background, Publicis Sapient's global president praised Golding’s "the magic and the machines" agenda and pledged to step up what has gone before rather than set a new direction.
Vaz's plans include bolstering the IPA’s line-up of qualifications with an MBA (discussions with business schools are under way, according to an IPA spokeswoman), introducing an initiative focused on maximising the potential of data and founding a new category in the Effectiveness Awards for the Best Contribution to Effectiveness Through Technology.
He also highlighted the idea of responsibility, pledging to up the IPA’s commitment to diversity and also to brand safety.
It will become compulsory for all IPA members to supply diversity statistics in their submissions for the 2022 Census, while the IPA will introduce the Creative Equals Equality Standard, which agencies can qualify for.
Vaz added that he wanted to see agencies taking a more active role in protecting clients’ interests and becoming true guardians of brand safety. This "means reimagining what a fair agency contract looks like", he explained.
Concluding his speech, Vaz said: "If we commit to help our clients reimagine their futures, we will reimagine our own."