The coming decade will redefine the consumer landscape and the approaches taken by brands and agencies, according to a new report from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) which identifies five core relationship models for effective marketing during that time.

Each of these models, detailed in “The Future of Brand and Agency Relationships” study carried out by the Foresight Factory, has strengths and weaknesses, ways of working, remuneration and measurement and varying degrees of growth potential.

By interviewing leading brand and agency experts, researchers found there was agreement on the challenges facing marketers as well as the most pressing changes that will affect the consumer landscape over next decade.

The most important changes include the acceleration of virtual trends, new forms of value exchange across consumers’ data interactions and greater demand for more empathetic brands who have human values and diversity at their heart. This, in turn, will lead to a greater importance of “consumer centricity and the expected expansion of multi-dimensional marketing, with purpose-led communication to a growing spectrum of stakeholders.”

The authors say the five relationship models are best viewed as “sitting on a pendulum, rather than as a static spectrum,” with all five to be used in a complex ecosystem of brand and agency working relationships, the relevance of each model varying depending on the client and the campaign.

The models are described as:

The Titan – a brand chooses one single external body to provide all marketing. The authors believe this model has moderate growth potential.

The Engineer – one body handles strategy while multiple agencies execute that strategy. Growth potential here is seen as significant.

The Coalition – strategy and execution is undertaken by several agencies. Low growth potential is forecast for this model.

The Hybrid – a combination of in-house client services and external agencies for strategy and execution. This model is seen as having significant growth potential.

The In-house – the vast majority of a brand’s marketing is handled in-house. This model is seen as having moderate growth potential.

Key to responding to these models, says the report, is that agencies build a holistic understanding of the consumer, and “develop their operational clarity, optimise their long-term strategy and increase their agility if they are to work effectively across the pendulum of relationship models.”

Sourced from IPA