The tremendous growth of Allison+Partners over the last 18 years was not by accident, it was by design. When my business partner Andy and I started our agency, we never set out to be the largest agency in the world. Just the best. Our vision was to become the agency of the future, one that is client and employee-driven and utilizes the latest technology to help our clients succeed. While that sounds good in theory, there were many investments made, open-door conversations and risk-taking we took early on to ensure we charted the course and continued to grow. Those investments have paid off, and this year we saw the greatest growth in our company’s history.
So, what does the agency of the future look like and how do you build it?
It starts with your people.
Agencies have long battled the issue of employee turnover. With the oldest Gen Z’s entering the workforce, how does an agency recruit, train and retain talent and keep them from walking out of the door? By listening to your employees and making them feel involved in the decision-making. The personality of your business is influenced by your people.
At Allison+Partners, we invest in new areas our employees are passionate about. From how we become a more purpose-driven and diverse organization to the type of technology teams need to be successful in their work, we greenlight employee-sourced initiatives that foster a positive workplace culture, increase employee satisfaction and enhance the overall performance of the agency. In turn, employees stay longer and are more productive, which clients benefit from with long-tenured teams and account stability.
How you’re organized matters.
2019 brought with it many announcements about organizational changes. From agencies restructuring their business models and leadership team shifts to reorganizing services offerings, agencies made many changes to position their organizations for the future and better address today’s client needs.
While all of this has happened, Allison+Partners has remained a stable and constant force for our clients. Yes, we’ve invested in many new offerings and innovations. But our business model and leadership have remained the same. We were founded with a single P+L, which eliminates organizational silos and internal turf wars that often plague other agencies. In return, clients receive the best team for their specific needs regardless of geography or specialty.
Our leadership team who were here at the beginning, are still here today. In fact, the average length of tenure of our executive team is 10+ years.
Focus on Innovation.
There is no doubt that technology has a constant impact on our industry, with real-time measurement and data analysis and the evolving customer experience shaping how we do business with our clients. Selecting the right talent and partners to help navigate these changes is a critical focus as we build the agency of the future.
Allison+Partners employs tech-savvy data scientists, developers and UX designers. But we are looking even further ahead at the intersection of AI, data and creativity. Having a forward-looking vision and the willingness to make investments in technology and talent will ensure you are positioned to thrive and help clients stay a step ahead of the competition.
When building the agency of the future — one that is agile, nimble, technology-savvy, fast-moving and decisive — it’s important to never lose sight that this is a "people business." As we reflect on being honored by PRWeek as a "Best Place to Work" for the third year in a row and being shortlisted for "Large Agency of the Year," we’re extremely proud of the agency we’ve become today and where we’re headed in the future.
This article was written by Allison+Partners co-founders Scott Allison and Andy Hardie Brown.
Scott Allison is global chairman and CEO and oversees the firm’s Global Board, while continuing to provide communications counsel to many high-profile executives and clients. He is an expert in issues management and crisis communications; presentation and media training; and is regularly called upon to speak about issues facing the public relations industry.
Andy Hardie-Brown is the co-architect of Allison+Partners. His background in building fast-growth, entrepreneurial companies – and 35 years of senior-level management experience in marketing services firms – has helped the agency gain recognition as a compelling alternative to the monolithic, holding company-owned players.
Today the agency is recognized as a worldwide business partner that is uniquely suited to respond to client needs at the pace which fast-moving marketplaces demand. Under Scott and Andy’s strategic approach to M&A and talent acquisition, Allison+Partners has grown to thirty offices within the past eighteen years. As a result, their vision of creating a world-class communications firm that truly addresses the needs of the most forward-looking and dynamic clients combined with the ambitions of the most talented employees has become a reality.