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Agency Iceberg

The role agencies play in encouraging brands to innovate

How many times have you been told by a client that they are committed to innovation and want you to develop an innovative marketing campaign?

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about ways that brands can actually act on their desire to be ‘innovative’.

I propose a ‘1 in 10 Rule’.

Last I heard, Innovation isn’t cheap, especially when tech is involved.

If there are 10 briefs for the year, I propose that the client allows the agency to choose one of those briefs and do whatever they like with it to solve the marketing or business problem… and the only feedback the client can give is on mandatory branding and legal.

In this line of thinking, the client does not initially reveal the budget of the chosen brief but they would have set the budgets when writing the briefs and cannot change them.

This way of working forces both agency and client to challenge each other and to really invest in innovation, whether it is with the biggest or smallest of budgets.

As long as the work that the agency produces is on-brand and on-brief then we should see an increase in great work, which is what we are all striving for. And instead of the one campaign per year that goes to market this may allow clients to trust their agencies a little more after they have proven themselves through the 1 in 10 process.

Imagine working on some of the biggest brands in Australia, knowing that you will have a chance to do the work that you have always wanted to do.

The excitement doesn’t stop with the agency. The client moves forward knowing that they are going to get something completely different to what they normally see and that they will be able to put their hand on their heart and say “I truly invested in innovation”.

I think this would make agencies really excited as I know I have a draw full of strategies and ideas that are “not off the table” but not “on the table”, heck I don’t know if there even is a table anymore.

I am really keen to test this new approach, and would love to see a few clients and agencies take a risk on it and hopefully share in the spoils.

What do you think? Get in touch with Grant to continue the conversation @grantpat

This piece originally appeared on Digital Ad Culture. Image courtesy of