The Immortal Life of Agencies

Co:definery

Fancy a bit more positivity around the business of running an agency? Welcome to Co:definery’s podcast ‘The Immortal Life of Agencies’. Here we celebrate the visionaries and change-makers who are actively future-proofing the agency sector. Each episode features our CEO Robin Bonn having short, sharp conversations - sometimes even friendly arguments - with some of the biggest, broadest and deepest thinkers in our industry. These are the leaders who’ve been there, done that and are happy to talk about the t-shirt - even if it’s a bit grubby. Expect untold stories of progress - always optimistic and never dull. read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

David Meikle: Meeting the needs of modern clients
09-04-2024
David Meikle: Meeting the needs of modern clients
How clear are you on what clients REALLY want from agencies? And what if you could ask someone with a unique perspective on how agencies do great work? Our guest on this episode is David Meikle. The classic ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’, he was previously an agency leader, working for Grey and latterly running Ogilvy in Russia, and now he’s a search consultant. David’s also a compassionate, innovative and rigorous thinker about the advertising and marketing industry, which you’ll know if you’ve read his books. This far-reaching conversation covers commerciality and profit, the risks of productising your offer, and how to strike a fairer deal with procurement. We also explore why agencies are poor negotiators and a surprising truth about how less exciting clients often get better work. David also offers a new way to think about agency differentiation - one that clients are taking increasingly seriously. CHAPTERS:2.26 The difference between finance and commerciality5.04 What agencies don't understand about profit conversion11.07 How agencies enable Procurement to dominate them15.10 The risks of productising agency services24.20 Why agency marketing is like car insurance27.15 The role of the agency's employer brand31.30 Distinctiveness vs uniqueness40.10 How conservative clients can get better work42.01 Agency failures in negotiation43.40 The concept of 'buyer's profit'46.25 Opportunities for your employer brand MORE ABOUT CO:DEFINERY:https://www.codefinery.comHOST SOCIALS:Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/robinbonn/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/robonn GUEST SOCIALS:  Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-meikle-6194405/DAVID'S BOOKS: https://www.amazon.com/stores/David-Meikle/author/B071NLVJBW LINKS: Why Work Sucks and What to do About it - https://www.amazon.com/Why-Work-Sucks-How-Joke/dp/1591842034/The No Asshole Rule - https://www.amazon.com/Asshole-Rule-Civilized-Workplace-Surviving/dp/0446698202
Michael Farmer: A new game plan for agencies
25-03-2024
Michael Farmer: A new game plan for agencies
In this episode, Robin chats with Michael Farmer - Chairman and CEO of Michael Farmer and Co. and an influential author on agency transformation. They discuss the commercial challenges and opportunities facing agencies and explore the need for a radical change in the business model. Michael highlights the stagnation in client growth, the impact of AI on agency profitability and the historical focus on cost reduction over client performance. They also explore the idea of agencies taking a more consultative approach, productising solutions and charging for scopes of work instead of selling time. Micheal and Robin close the episode on a strong note of optimism - sharing examples of leaders (on the client side, as well as agency side) who are affecting genuine change. If you’re keen to evolve your agency’s business model but aren’t certain that it’s possible, then this is the episode for you. CHAPTERS:04:15 The lack of profitability within agencies.10:03 The loss of AOR status. 14:50 The lack of knowledge sharing within agencies.22:42 AI will reduce at least 20% of billable hours.32:42 Having the confidence to step outside the brief.37:40 Focusing on impactful work and lasting growth for clients.41:39 AstraZeneca’s Agency Partnership Certification program.43:20 Procurement leaders advocating for positive change. MORE ABOUT CO:DEFINERY:https://www.codefinery.comHOST SOCIALS:Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/robinbonn/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/robonn GUEST SOCIALS:  Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelfarmer/ Michael's books: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Michael-Farmer/author/B06X9PZB4D
Faris Yakob: How agency CEOs must compete with people’s need for freedom
15-02-2024
Faris Yakob: How agency CEOs must compete with people’s need for freedom
In this episode, Robin is joined by author, thinker and Genius Steals Co-Founder, Faris Yakob. Famed for his ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle as much as his insights, a LOT of agency people ask him about how to go freelance. So he and Robin explore why agency life sucks for a lot of people and what agency leaders can do to avoid great talent choosing to be independent consultants instead. Unpacking his own ‘accidental’ journey to becoming a consultant, Faris shares what he sees as the limitations and constraints of working in a traditional agency role. He and Robin also explore the business model inefficiencies that contribute to the pressures that agency CEOs face. If you’re interested in Faris’ recipe for how ‘unkillable’ agencies can thrive in an era of increased competition, then don’t miss this episode. CHAPTERS: 02.20 Why agency life sucks07.35 How Faris’ nomadic life outside agencies came about 12.20 What people look for from their jobs 14.20 How our business model puts agencies in opposition to clients17.40 Learnings from the world of management consultancy 21.30 Advice for agency leaders to help them keep top talent25.20 What makes agencies ‘unkillable’ 29.30 The quest for new models 32.20 How creativity can inform every level of the agency business35.40 Kellogg’s long-term thinking for agencies from 1989MORE ABOUT CO:DEFINERY:https://www.codefinery.comHOST SOCIALS:Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/robinbonn/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/robonn GUEST SOCIALS:  Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/farisyakob/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/faris More on JWT and Kellogg’shttps://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/opinion/clients-arent-just-for-christmas/6494
Rory Sutherland: Where does innovation really come from?
15-02-2024
Rory Sutherland: Where does innovation really come from?
In this episode, Robin is joined by acclaimed advertising guru Rory Sutherland. Known for his innovative thinking, particularly in applying principles of behavioural economics to advertising and consumer behaviour, he and Robin explore the barriers to innovation in modern agencies. From accidental innovations like Viagra, to the value of inefficiency, as well as the alignment of briefs to organisational needs, rather than those of the consumer, this far-reaching conversation offers a wealth of inspiration for having a different kind of conversation with your clients. They also share ideas on commercial innovation - like why agencies don’t adopt models from other industries, and how to avoid being hampered by a default to convention. Rory also shares a powerful observation about annual reports that you can never unhear. This is a fascinating perspective on the future of agencies and the cultural shifts required for meaningful progress.  CHAPTERS: 02.18 Why advertising is like the 1920s fashion industry.04.20 We only solve the problems we’re asked to solve.06.08 Innovation happens in reverse.06.52 Proactive creativity is seen as a cost. 09.54 The danger of AI in creative thinking. 13.38 Most problems aren’t clear until we try to solve them. 18:12 Why Cannes should be about buying ads not awarding them. 21.10 Most of the wealth of creativity is stolen by the advertising bureaucracy. 24.05 Agencies sell like bad estate agents.26.10 We can’t innovate when we’re paid by the hour. 35.20 How media and creative agencies differ on entrepreneurialism. 38.25 Improving profit through ‘network effects’. 45.52 Reinventing incentives for innovation. 47.36 Why annual reports hamper Marketers. MORE ABOUT CO:DEFINERY: https://www.codefinery.com/HOST SOCIALS: Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/robinbonn/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/robonn GUEST SOCIALS:  Linkedin - https://uk.linkedin.com/in/rorysutherlandTwitter - https://twitter.com/rorysutherland Rory's Publications:  https://www.amazon.com/stores/Rory-Sutherland/author/B07L3WRSWMWavemaker’s Chris Peters’ newsletter ‘B2B Excellence’: https://www.b2bexcellence.co/