Independent agencies’ group relaunches and rebrands

New team at the Alliance of Independent Agencies (l-r): Sullivan, Myers-Lamptey, Kieran and Parkes

New senior team at the Alliance of Independent Agencies (left to right): Sullivan, Myers-Lamptey, Kieran and Parkes

The Marketing Agencies Action Group (MAAG), the industry body formed from the collapsed Marketing Agencies Association, is rebranding the Alliance of Independent Agencies, as part of a major restructure which sees it appoint a new senior team.

The Alliance claims that it will lead the agenda of independent agencies and promote the industry’s interests as it faces the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; helping independent agencies to safeguard jobs and boost growth.

The pandemic has had a significant and negative impact on the creative agency sector, with as much as a 44% (£19bn) reduction in turnover and projected job losses of 26% (49,000). Independents make up 90% of the agencies in the creative sector, which contributes over £43bn to the economy.

As income, jobs, ways of working, and client-agency relationships are reimagined as a result of the pandemic, it is the industry body believes is crucial the independent agency sector has a clear and action-focused voice.

Until now, the Alliance insists the sector has not had a united voice to promote its collective interests and pro-actively lobby policymakers in client-related industry bodies and the Government and claims its mission is to change this.

The move sees the appointment of former US vice president at The Drum and head of the Drum Network Matt Sullivan as managing director.

Sullivan, who has also been MD of the US DMA’s International Echo Awards, will be supported by a members’ board, and a triumvirate of co-chairs to drive the agenda of the group’s eight action groups.

The co-chairs – Ruth Kieran (CEO at Cirkle), Dino Myers-Lamptey (founder of The Barber Shop), and Laurence Parkes (CEO of Rufus Leonard) – will be primarily responsible for distilling the input of the Alliance’s eight action groups (in the arenas of Purpose, People, and Performance) into one voice.

The group’s founders, industry chiefs Clive Mishon and Graham Kemp, will remain as directors of the Alliance and support the executive team.

The Alliance has set out three core missions:

– Lobbying for Government support, such as safeguarding jobs, through independent agency representation as members of the Advertising Association and Federation of Small Business.

– Providing independent agencies wider access to valuable resources, building on collaborations with other agency collectives. To date, these include Pimento, TheNetworkOne and Agencynomics.

– Empowering independent agencies to more successfully navigate procurement (in an increasingly competitive marketplace) through key educational partnerships.

Sullivan said: “Across my work with agencies of all sizes and disciplines over the last 10 years, the biggest shift has been the desire to collaborate more – especially within the independent community. This will be the key factor behind the success of the Alliance of Independent Agencies.

“The Alliance is bringing an amazing mix of agencies together, plus support and access to other networks; a level of collaboration that is unusual with the backdrop of competitive membership fees. It feels like the last piece of the puzzle is to unite everybody that works for or alongside independent agencies to create something bigger and more impactful. With all the talent, great work, and increased confidence, I think we can be very ambitious with what we can achieve together.”

The Alliance will continue to deliver learning and development, new business partnerships, networking and thought leadership, championing issues, a legal helpline, pitch protection, and agency purchasing power.

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