Reframing the role of agencies: From brand builders to brand immunisers

Scott Brenman

Executive Summary

The optimistic psychology of agencies is misaligned to the pessimistic psychology of boardrooms. Agencies sell the promise of business growth, but boardrooms prefer to buy insurance against business failure.

Brand immunisation offers a new way for agencies to prove their value. Far from being conservative, it offers a route to long-term success that accommodates risk and innovation.

Brand immunisation doesn't require wholesale changes to the structure of agencies. But it does require agencies to reframe how they sell themselves to the boardroom.

Introduction: The psychological misalignment

Last year there were 37,427 entries to the Cannes Lion Festival of Ideas. No two entries were the same and yet each entry told the same story. The story of how an agency had proved itself to be pivotal to the success of its client.