The Agency Radar

Agencies exist at the frontier of all that is new and changing. They provide a vital interface to the world for client organisations who are unable to adapt rapidly, needing their agency to help them sense change and respond to it with specialist knowledge and skills. That’s the whole reason they need agencies.

Therefore, it’s vital for agencies to look ahead and around more than any other type of business. This is especially true in times of disruption, such as now.

The agencies that prosper will be the ones whose leaders put in place an ongoing approach to see change far on the horizon and prepare the organisation for it through preparation, developing skills, marshalling resources, and smart hiring — and then are ready to help their clients too, before anyone else is.

To help with this need to see further ahead, we publish this twice-yearly ‘Agency Radar’ report for subscribers, providing a horizon scan of events that agencies need to be aware of and may need to prepare for.

Global Restrictedinternationaltravel​ Furtherpandemicwaves Online​everything Political,​Economic,SocialTurmoil Destabilised​international​relationships Internationalconflict​ Tradeconflict Cyberconflict/crime Asymmetricdemands fortalent Underinvestmentin education ​Extreme​climate​events Global​politicalpressure
Agency Teamdemotivation​ Leadership​fatigue Credit​risks​ Planning​​and​scheduling​difficult​ Squeezed​​margins​ Increased​tensions​ Increases in​mentalhealthissues Cyber​attacks Reputationaldamage Disruption​to onlineservices HRissues Training​​needs Increasedstaffturnover Suboptimalutilisationrates Keypeoplemay leave Local​climate​emergencies​ Reputational​​damage​
Societal Inflation​ Further​lockdowns​ Recession People's​changed​priorities Flexibilityexpected Increasing​inequality​ Onlineaggression Lifeincreasingly​insecure​for young Polarisationof affiliations Populist​movements Peopleready forchange Pressurefor payincreases Pivot tolow climateimpact Campaigns,protests
Market Clients​boom orbust Consolidation Clientchurn Changed​clientexpectations Decision​hesitancy Greater​businessscrutiny Volatility Talent​shortage Growth in​freelancing Newcompetitor​​agencies​ ​New green​economy​opportunities Pressure​fromclients

Explore the report:

Six themes

Four perspectives

How to read the radar

It’s just like a radar screen — we’re in the centre, and incoming things are plotted on the screen around us, showing the direction they’re coming from, and how close they are.

The screen is divided into four zones, representing where the things are coming from:

  1. Agency: internal issues to do with your team, your processes, your finances and more.
  2. Market: issues to do with clients, prospects, competitors, suppliers.
  3. Societal: issues to do with politics, the economy, culture, and other things that relate to the outside world, psychologically close to your operations.
  4. Global: issues to do with global politics, trade, the global economy, climate, and more. Things that seem psychologically distant to your operations.

The key issues identified by this edition of the Agency Radar Report are shown as sticky notes on the screen, in the zone they relate to.

They are shown closer to the centre if they are a ‘proximate’ issues, that is if their impact will be close in time and/or higher likelihood. They are shown further out towards the edges if they are perceived to be further away in the future or lower likelihood.

Finally, the issues are colour coded into Themes. We identify key themes of upcoming issues for agencies, with the key issues highlighted on the screen but more detail about all the issues in the theme provided later in the report. This allows an ‘at a glance’ view, with more context available by reading on.

How to use the Agency Radar

Use this report to inform discussion in your board meetings and leadership planning.

Create your own radar for your agency, and use this report to spark ideas of things to map onto it.

The leadership team should regularly monitor the radar, and update it. Updates could include adding items, removing items, or moving items around to reflect changes in proximity.

Your board meetings should review the latest version of the radar that your leadership team has prepared for your agency.