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5 months ago by David Love

Business Unusual: The Road to Recovery

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How have agencies reacted to Covid-19 and what are their plans for the coming months?

Over the first 100 days of lockdown, we have been speaking with people from a wide range of agencies – holding company-owned or independent, startup or established, boutique or global, and across a range of industry specialisms/agency types.

This gives us a rounded view of how the industry has adapted to Covid-19 and the plans for the rest of the Summer. On the whole we have seen the same prevailing trends across agencies of all types:

There have been job losses but…

We can’t pretend that there haven’t been any redundancies. However, some agencies have continued working for clients and therefore made far fewer cuts than they feared would be necessary. We’ve also seen examples of bold, collaborative efforts (including entire agencies taking temporary pay cuts) to avoid redundancies – a team-centric approach

Brands are looking beyond the next few weeks

There is a rising sense that the worst is behind us (at least for now) and a willingness from clients to once again begin to loosen the purse strings. Even the worst-hit industries (e.g. hospitality) can take same comfort in the recent government decisions and start to see a need to resume marketing​​

Agencies are getting busier

New business is increasing and we are hearing that the work postponed in March is now being reactivated. One of the main learnings from recent downturns seems to have been the need to keep the marketing tap turned on – both for brands and for agencies

Teams are starting to return to normal

Staff are being brought back from furlough and in a few cases redundant roles have been reinstated. Agency leaders are now looking at the next challenge of how to reopen their offices … of if offices are even needed (in our opinion, yes they are but time WFH should be far more normal going forward)

Agencies are still recruiting

From 10-person startups to global networks, we have seen agencies of all sizes cast their nets to find great talent. And whilst there are challenges in on-boarding a new starter remotely these have proven to be far from insurmountable

​Whilst we appreciate that by no means every agency is through the worst of it, the prevailing sentiment is that a return to something like normality is starting to be visible. In the meantime, we'll be looking forward to 4th July so we can celebrate with a few drinks in the pub … and maybe get a haircut.

Here’s to more positivity.