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“We must invent new strategies and new ways of doing business” - Maurice Levy
“We are not in the advertising business anymore” - Sir Martin Sorrell
“Established agencies are struggling to find their place in the ecosystem” - Graham Brown

Bad things happen to good companies, often because they have not spotted the right time to transform their organisations. At Neon Nelly we help agencies to identify the right time to change and provide expert guidance from change strategy through to practical toolkits for agile working and collaboration.

We have everything to make your agency future:fit to give your clients maximum value.

Main photograph courtesy of jantik
Silos photograph courtesy of docsearls

We are not at the end of advertising. We have a bright future, provided we can re-invent ourselves

Maurice Levy

The latest IPA census shows that employment in creative and media agencies is increasing. So what’s the problem? Clients are asking agencies to deliver faster and cheaper. You are working harder than you can remember but it’s still not enough – so now you are cross and your client is crosser still. Because legacy agencies are organised in silos of skill sets, they need stability to maintain that commercial model – a stability clients can no longer guarantee.

The 2015 IPA/Future Foundation report on what will be required of agencies in 2025 has set the bar even higher. Agencies will be squeezed to provide services to brands amidst ‘many divergent models’. Legacy agencies need to adapt fast to be agile or ‘play second fiddle to start ups’.


Client satisfaction

Yes please. But right now that seems a harder and harder thing to achieve. A recent ISBA survey of members resulted in feedback that was a ‘load of vitriol’ about creative agencies. 

Legacy agency structures and systems are driven by a control model – a mechanistic way to do business – your client’s world is probably closer to chaos than order these days. And if you are only tinkering with your existing structure, processes and systems then you will struggle to keep up and be unable to add value where your client needs it most.

Competition from everywhere

In some cases clients have been voting with their feet – looking to newcomers like management consultants or to new more agile entrants – small agencies who can be fluid and deliver faster, cheaper and more collaboratively with other suppliers.

It’s getting a bit blurred out there – where one organisations role starts and another ends. Clear rules are no longer available to play by, and so others who are not as expert as you are starting to do your work.

Expert disadvantage

Legacy operating models are structured a bit like silos – with lots of independent departments with ring fenced budgets operating in parallel, with key areas of hand-off built into the processes. The current volatile and uncertain business climate has meant that most change programmes cannot deliver success if purely focussing on improving productivity.

Agencies are responding to the challenge, but there is a limit on how much can be achieved if only looking at efficiencies. Transformational change techniques help you build a different way of working, one that gives you the capacity and capability to deliver better value to your clients consistently and profitably.


... or lack of it. Let’s face it, the industry is just not attracting and retaining the best. The last few years have enabled some agencies to claim technology such as digital as a USP. But going forward it will become an enabler and the most important differentiator of your business will be humans.

The best people are attracted by companies who focus on purpose as well as profit and who have abandoned hierarchies in favour of building the right team to get the job done. They want to be empowered to make a difference, and they don’t see why that should be driven by grading. Those are huge changes for agencies, but those who address them will bring back the best people.

Winners in 2020 will be those who transitioned fastest from legacy models to more agile ones
Media 2020 and Beyond

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