NEW YORK: The 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies), the industry body, is basing its underlying purpose around empowering its member agencies to deliver truly “insightful creativity” to clients.

Marla Kaplowitz – who has served as President/CEO of the 4A’s since May 2017, and who joined the trade association as it celebrated its centennial year – discussed this topic in an interview with WARC.

“I look at what we're doing today, and we’re kind of in this pivot moment,” she said (For more details, read WARC’s in-depth reports: The 4A’s builds on the past – and looks to the future and Advertising, innovation and the future of agencies.)

“We're looking at 100 years of history, and of amazing equity, and how do we make sure that we continue to evolve, and stay relevant for our members, and make sure that the advocacy that we’re doing is relevant?”

Having worked at several full-service and media shops in a career spanning almost 30 years, Kaplowitz was already familiar with the positive impact of the 4A’s from a practitioner’s perspective.

“As someone who was part of the industry, and part of the 4A’s community as a member of the Media Leadership Council, and seeing what was going on, I always understood the value that the 4A’s brought,” she said.

More specifically, the benefits the 4A’s provided were typically quantified in terms of leadership, guidance, advocacy, and community. These qualities, for Kaplowitz, are table stakes for “any trade association to deliver” to its core constituency.

But they did not translate into an underlying mission that defined, in a compelling fashion, why agencies are fundamentally distinct from any other enterprise.

“It doesn't really speak to what is unique, and special, about this industry – and what the 4A’s does. So, we took a step back and recognized that what is unique … is the creativity that agencies bring forth to the clients,” said Kaplowitz.

By way of response, she continued, “We wanted to shift our purpose to be around how the 4A’s empowers agencies to deliver insightful creativity that drives commerce – because you’ve got to make sure that you are pushing business; that’s critical to sales, [and] to connections – but also influences culture.

“And it’s about how we can help move this industry forwards, and some of the creative ideas and solutions [forwards], not only to help our culture, but also to shape culture as well.”

Sourced from WARC