The Hybrid Agency Tango: Brand Led Alliance + Integration

Posted by Deltek Partner Guest Blog on November 2, 2020

Vanessa Edwards, CPI

Excerpts from The Hybrid Agency Tango webinar with Vanessa Vollum Edwards

Welcome to Part 5 of the Hybrid Agency Tango! As a quick reminder, the first blog post focused on an introduction to the Hybrid Pyramid, with subsequent blogs covering the remainder of the Agency Led track (left side), which highlighted more traditional and familiar relationship models between Brands and their Agency partners. In our last blog, we started on the “Frenemy” side of the Brand Led track, which highlights some emerging partnership models between Brands and their Agency partners.

If you are just joining us, below is a visual representation of the Hybrid Agency Pyramid, and a brief description of the evolution of IHA from 1.0 to Hybrid.

  • 1.0 focused on cost, speed, control and media unbundling
  • 2.0 focused on multi-channel complexity, MarTech, data security and 360° analytics
  • Hybrid focuses on evolving beyond “Frenemies” into Alliance, Integration & Co-location

hybrid agency pyramid

Continuing the “Brand Led” Track

In this fifth blog, we will be continuing on the Brand Led track (right side) by focusing on the Brand Led Alliance and Brand Led Integration models.

Brand Led Alliance

So, let’s move onto the first tier of Hybrid on the Brand Led side, which we call the Brand Led Alliance model. Similar to its twin on the Agency Led side, this model is designed to form “a union of mutual benefit,” though this time led by the Brand.

In this model, the Brand still keeps most work in-house. However, they use specialty agencies for specific strategy, creative development and execution of certain channels. These tend to be channels the Brand doesn’t use as often, or channels that require a variety of expertise (which the Brand may not be able to fully fund).

Just like on the Agency Led side, this hybrid relationship is the first true win-win on the Brand Led track.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK:

  • BRAND owns Marketing Objectives + Insights
  • BRAND owns Research and Consumer Knowledge
  • BRAND owns Mar/Comm Strategy and Planning
  • BRAND owns Campaign Strategy and Planning
  • BRAND owns Big Idea and Creative Concepting
  • BRAND/AGENCY own Creative Dev for specific channels
  • BRAND/AGENCY own specific Channel Strategy and Execution
  • BRAND owns Analytics and Reporting
  • AGENCY owns special projects or flex support

PROS:

  • Increased strategy + alignment in less frequently used channels
  • Deep knowledge of brand, consumer + regulatory
  • Easier access to stakeholders + increased speed to market
  • Decreased turnaround times + costs for creative development
  • Marketing responsibility + accountability not all dependent upon Brands
  • Brands gain full visibility into Customer Journey
  • Access to full circle analytics + reporting for optimization
  • At certain volume, less expensive than agency models

CONS:

  • Split channel strategy/execution = competing interests
  • More difficult to project manage integrated campaigns
  • Specialty agency not as agile as internal channel teams
  • Talent gets tired of working on same brand day-in, day-out
  • In-house team not pushing boundaries and/or not staying cutting-edge to marketing/channel trends

Brand Led Integration

Similar to its twin on the Agency Led side, this model is designed to produce a “blending of things into a functioning and unified whole,” though led by the Brand. Again, this is one of the most ideal working relationships for many Agencies and Brands, coming up the Brand Led track. 

This model is an evolution from the Brand Led Alliance model in that the Brand now partners with agencies on the campaign Strategy + Planning, through to the Big Idea Development and Creative Concepting for more complex initiatives. 

A great example is when Lego (who currently has a 400+ person in house agency) partnered with BETC Paris to launch their new global brand campaign. Lego leveraged BETC’s outside perspective, fresh ideas and capabilities, while continuing to leverage their large and highly capable in-house team. In true Hybrid fashion, BETC worked with Lego to design and launch their “Rebuild the World” campaign aimed at “firing up children’s creative skills.” This campaign was influenced by the “World Economic Forum [identifying] creative problem solving as one of the top skills children will need in a future job market that will be turned on its head by automation and digitization.” Amazing.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK:

  • BRAND owns Marketing Objectives + Insights
  • BRAND owns Research and Consumer Knowledge
  • BRAND owns Mar/Comm Strategy and Planning
  • AGENCY owns Campaign Strategy and Planning
  • AGENCY owns Big Idea and Creative Concepting
  • BRAND owns Creative Development
  • BRAND/AGENCY own specific Channel Strategy and Execution
  • BRAND owns Analytics and Reporting
  • AGENCY owns special projects or flex support

PROS:

  • Ability to leverage outside perspectives/expertise when needed
  • Deep knowledge of brand, consumer + regulatory
  • Easier access to stakeholders + increased speed to market
  • Decreased turnaround times + costs for creative development
  • Brands gain full visibility into Customer Journey
  • Access to full circle analytics + reporting for optimization
  • At certain volume, less expensive than agency models

CONS:

  • Agency concepting mis-aligned to channel strategy + execution
  • Split channel strategy/execution = competing interests
  • More difficult to project manage integrated campaigns
  • Talent gets tired of working on same brand day-in, day-out
  • Brands spend lots of time managing + training agencies

That’s a Wrap – For Now

Thank you for reading the 5th blog post in a larger series that focuses on the evolution from in-house to Hybrid!  The final blog post in the series will focus on the apex of the Hybrid Pyramid, colloquially known as Co-Location.  And as promised, we will finally be discussing the Hybrid Magic Quadrant, which should provide some practical orientation for where you are today and where you may want to be in the future.

Additional Resources:


 

Webinar: How Your Agency Can Emerge Stronger in the New Normal


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About the Author: Vanessa Vollum Edwards, President, CPI

For the last decade, Vanessa and her team at CPI have helped over a 100 organizations (Agency & In-House) through complex organizational change, adopt agency management software, embrace business intelligence and prepare for future growth.

 

 

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