Creativebrief surveyed 50 senior brand marketers from companies including Barclaycard, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Britvic and Iceland, and 50 senior leaders from agencies such as Adam & Eve/DDB, VCCP, Iris, The Beyond Collective and Portas.
It found that, while 88% of brand respondents claim to have considered the impact of their demands and expectations on agencies, some 70% of agency leaders disagreed, arguing that clients are unaware of how their behaviour affects agency cultures.
Agencies may take solace from the fact that 80% of brands taking part in the survey said they should shoulder more responsibility for driving change in agency working cultures. Yet only 67% of agency respondents agreed that changes in working culture should be driven by brands.
A significant majority of brands claimed that factors such as flexible working culture and diversity positively impacted their your decision to appoint an agency.
However, brands and agencies were in agreement that the pitch should not be seen as a culprit in setting an expectation of poor behaviours and negative working cultures, with 69% of brands and 67% of agencies disagreeing with this statement.
Charlie Carpenter, managing director at Creativebrief, commented: “Modernising working culture between brands and agencies is something we’ve felt an increasingly urgent need to address – particularly from the point of view of creating healthier and more responsible relationships between the two parties.
“What’s reassuring is brands’ seeming appetite to support a shift, with 80% of those surveyed feeling they should shoulder more responsibility for driving change in the working cultures of agencies. We’re hoping the truths this survey lays bare, provide a rare moment of clarity and reflection, and the beginnings of change.”
In May, Creativebrief released a survey showing that two-thirds of advertisers would consider hiring an agency even if they refuse to take part in a traditional pitch.