The Hybrid Agency Tango: Part 5

Excerpts from Henry Stewart Seminar with Vanessa Vollum Edwards

Welcome to Part 5 of the Hybrid Agency Tango! As a quick reminder, the 1st 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.

Continuing the Brand Led Track

In this 5th 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.





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.





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.

© 2020 Creative Performance Inc., All Rights Reserved

About Vanessa Vollum Edwards

Hailing from Portland, OR, Vanessa graduated from university with a degree in Philosophy. An amateur helicopter and fixed wing pilot since age sixteen, she began her first career as a pilot for LifeFlight. Upon completing her MBA, Vanessa was recruited by a fellow classmate into becoming the CFO/COO for a digital agency experiencing rapid growth. The agency was acquired in 2010. Over the last decade, Vanessa has built a strategic consultancy focused on empowering agency principals, accelerating growth, increasing profitability and deploying agency management software.  She is a founder of AgencyStory®, a patent pending curated analytics solution for the marketing services industry.

About CPI

Creative Performance Inc. (CPI) is a marketing operations consultancy for the marketing services industry (both Agency + In-House). We specialize in improving our client’s Organizational Agility and Operational Resilience; through a seamless integration of industry best-practices, mar-tech and business intelligence.  CPI is an AgencyStory®, Deltek®, Oracle Agile and Workamajig® partner.

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